Skip to main content

Full text of "Life of George Washington"

See other formats


BE XBU^'O«3460-0405 


David 0. McKay Librai 

3 1404 00016 6113 

Utah Bookbinding Co. SLC, UT 6/28/07 18? 

FE B 1 2QW 


Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 
Brigham Young University-Idaho 

From the Celebrated Portrait painted by Stuart. 

Fkontispiece— Irving, Vol. Twelve. 













The following work was commenced several years 
ago, but the prosecution of it has been repeatedly in- 
terrupted by other occupations, by a long absence in 
Europe, and by occasional derangement of health. It 
is only within the last two or three years that I have 
been able to apply myself to it steadily. This is stated 
to account for the delay in its publication. 

The first part treats of the earlier period of "Wash- 
ington's life previous to the war of the Revolution, giv- 
ing his expeditions into the wilderness, his campaigns on 
the frontier in the old French war; and the other " ex- 
periences," by which his character was formed, and he 
was gradually trained up and prepared for his great 

Though a biography, and of course admitting of fa- 
miliar anecdote, excursive digressions, and a flexible text- 
ure of narrative, yet, for the most part, it is essentially 
historic. Washington, in fact, had very little private life, 
but was eminently a public character. All his actions 
and concerns almost from boyhood were connected with 

the history of his country. In writing his biography, 


4 preface 

therefore, I am obliged to take glances over collateral 
history, as seen from his point of view and influencing 
his plans, and to narrate distant transactions apparently 
disconnected with his concerns, but eventually bearing 
upon the great drama in which he was the principal 

I have endeavored to execute my task with candor 
and fidelity; stating facts on what appeared to be good 
authority, and avoiding as much as possible all false 
coloring and exaggeration. My work is founded on the 
correspondence of Washington, which, in fact, affords the 
amplest and surest groundwork for his biography. This 
I have consulted as it exists in manuscript in the archives 
of the Department of State, to which I have had full and 
frequent access. I have also made frequent use of " Wash- 
ington's Writings,' ' as published by Mr. Sparks; a care- 
ful collation of many of them with the originals having 
convinced me of the general correctness of the collection, 
and the safety with which it may be relied upon for his- 
torical purposes; and I am happy to bear this testimony 
to the essential accuracy of one whom I consider among 
the greatest benefactors to our national literature; and 
to whose writings and researches I acknowledge myself 
largely indebted throughout my work. W. I. 



Irving, Vol. Twelve, jfe 2* 



Genealogy of the Washington Family 85 


The Home of Washington's Boyhood — His Early Education — Law- 
rence Washington and his Campaign in the West Indies — Death 
of Washington's Father — The Widowed Mother and her Chil- 
dren — School Exercises 48 


Paternal Conduct of an Elder Brother — The Fairfax Family — 
Washington's Code of Morals and Manners— Soldiers' Tales — 
Their Influence — Washington prepares for the Navy — A 
Mother's Objections— Return to School — Studies and Exer- 
cises — A Schoolboy Passion — The Lowland Beauty — Love 
Ditties at Mount Vernon — Visit to Belvoir — Lord Fairfax — His 
Character — Fox-hunting a Remedy for Love — Proposition for a 
Surveying Expedition 48 


Expedition beyond the Blue Ridge — The Valley of the Shenan- 
doah — Lord Halifax —Lodge in the Wilderness — Surveying — 
Life in the Backwoods — Indians — War Dance — German Set- 
tlers — Return Home — Washington as Public Surveyor — So- 
journ at Greenway Court — Horses, Hounds, and Books — 
Rugged Experience among the Mountains .... 58 


English and French Claims to the Ohio Valley — Wild State of the 
Country — Projects of Settlements — The Ohio Company — En- 
lightened Views of Lawrence Washington — French Rivalry — 


Celeron de Bienville — His Signs of Occupation — Hugh Craw- 
ford—George Croghan, a veteran Trader, and Montour, his 
Interpreter — Their Mission from Pennsylvania to the Ohio 
Tribes — Christopher Gist, the Pioneer of the Yadkin — Agent of 
the Ohio Company — His Expedition to the Frontier — Reprobate 
Traders at Logstown — Negotiations with the Indians — Scenes in 
the Ohio Country — Diplomacy at Piqua — Kegs of Brandy and 
Rolls of Tobacco — Gist's Return across Kentucky— A Deserted 
Home — French Scheme — Captain Joncaire, a Diplomat of the 
Wilderness — His Speech at Logstown — The Indians' Land — 
"Where?" 66 


Preparations for Hostilities — Washington appointed District Adju- 
tant-General — Mount Vernon a School of Arms — Adjutant 
Muse a veteran Campaigner — Jacob Van Braam a Master of 
Fence — 111 Health of Washington's brother Lawrence — Voyage 
with him to the West Indies — Scenes at Barbadoes — Tropical 
Fruits — Beefsteak and Tripe Club — Return Home of Washing- 
ton — Death of Lawrence 81 


Council of the Ohio Tribes at Logstown — Treaty with the English — 
Gist's Settlement — Speeches of the Half -king and the French 
Commandant — French Aggressions — The Ruins of Piqua — 
Washington sent on a Mission to the French Commander — 
Jacob Van Braam, his Interpreter — Christopher Gist, his 
Guide — Halt at the Confluence of the Monongahela and Alle- 
ghany — Projected Fort — Shingis. a Delaware Sachem — Logs- 
town — The Half-king — Indian Councils — Indian Diplomacy — 
Rumors concerning Joncaire — Indian Escorts — The Half -king, 
Jeskakake, and White Thunder 87 


Arrival at Venango — Captain Joncaire — Frontier Revelry — Discus- 
sions over the Bottle — The Old Diplomatist and the Young — 
The Half -king, Jeskakake, and White Thunder staggered — 
The Speech-belt — Departure — La Force, the wily Commis- 
sary — Fort at French Creek — The Chevalier Legardeur de St. 
Pierre, Knight of St. Louis — Captain Reparti — Transactions at 
the Fort — Attempts to seduce the Sachems — Mischief brewing 
on the Frontier — Difficulties and Delays in Parting — Descent of 
French Creek — Arrival at Vsnang" 97 


Return from Venango — A Tramp on Foot — Murdering Town — The 
Indian Guide — Treachery — An Anxious Night — Perils on the 
Alleghany River — Queen Aliquippa — The old Watch-coat — 
Return across the Blue Ridge 106 


Reply of the Chevalier de St. Pierre — Trent's Mission to the Fron- 
tier — Washington recruits Troops — Dinwiddie and the House 
of Burgesses — Independent Conduct of the Virginians — Expedi- 
ents to gain Recruits — Jacob Van Braam in Service — Toilful 
March to Wills' Creek — Contrecoeur at the Fork of the Ohio — 
Trent's refractory Troops life 


March to the Little Meadows — Rumors from the Ohio — Correspond- 
ence from the banks of the Youghiogeny — Attempt to descend 
that River — Alarming Reports — Scouting Parties — Perilous 
situation of the Camp — Gist and La Force — Message from the 
Half-king— French Tracks — The Jumonville Skirmish — Treat- 
ment of La Force — Position at the Great Meadows — Belligerent 
feelings of a young Soldier 138 


Scarcity in the Camp — Death of Colonel Fry — Promotions — Mackay 
and his Independent Company — Major Muse — Indian Cere- 
monials — Public Prayers in Camp — Alarms — Independence of 
an Independent Company — Affairs at the Great Meadows — De- 
sertion of the Indian Allies — Capitulation of Fort Necessity — 
Van Braam as an Interpreter — Indian Plunderers — Return to 
Williamsburg — Vote of Thanks of the House of Burgesses — Sub- 
sequent Fortunes of the Half -king — Comments on the Affair of 
Jumonville and the Conduct of Van Braam .... 185 


Founding of Fort Cumberland — Secret Letter of Stobo — The Indian 
Messenger — Project of Dinwiddie — His Perplexities — A Taint 
of Republicanism in the Colonial Assemblies — Dinwiddie's 
Military Measures — Washington quits the Service — Overtures 
of Governor Sharpe, of Maryland — Washington's dignified 
Reply — Questions of Rank between Royal and Provincial 
Troops — Treatment of the French Prisoners — Fate of La 
Force — Anecdotes of Stobo and Van Braam , . . .150 

10 <?optept8 


Return to quiet Life— French and English prepare for Hostilities- 
Plan of a Campaign — General Braddock — His Character— Sir 
John St. Clair, Quartermaster-general — His Tour of Inspec- 
tion — Projected Roads — Arrival of Braddock — Military Consul- 
tations and Plans — Commodore Keppel and his Seamen — Ships 
and Troops at Alexandria — Excitement of Washington — In- 
vited to join the Staff of Braddock — A Mother's Objections — 
Washington at Alexandria— Grand Council of Governors — 
Military Arrangements — Colonel William Johnson — Sir John 
St. Clair at Fort Cumberland — His Explosions of Wrath — Their 
Effects — Indians to be enlisted — Captain Jack and his Band of 
Bush-beaters . 158 


Washington proclaimed Aid-de-camp — Disappointments at Fred- 
ericktown — Benjamin Franklin and Braddock — Contracts — 
Departure for Wills' Creek — Rough Roads — The General in his 
Chariot — Camp at Fort Cumberland — Hugh Mercer — Dr. 
Craik — Military Tactics — Camp Rules — Secretary Peters — In- 
dians in Camp— Indian Beauties— The Princess Bright Light- 
ning — Errand to Williamsburg — Braddock's Opinion of Con- 
tractors and Indians — Arrival of Conveyances . . . 172 


March from Fort Cumberland — The Great Savage Mountain — Camp 
at the Little Meadows — Division of the Forces — Captain Jack 
and his Band — Scarooyadi in Danger — Illness of Washington — 
His Halt at the Youghiogeny — March of Braddock — The 
Great Meadows — Lurking Enemies — Their Tracks — Precau- 
tions — Thicketty Run — Scouts — Indian Murders — Funeral of 
an Indian Warrior — Camp on the Monongahela — Wash- 
ington's arrival there — March for Fort Duquesne — The Ford- 
ing of the Monongahela — The Battle — The Retreat — Death of 
Braddock 184 

Arrival at Fort Cumberland — Letters of Washington to his 
Family — Panic of Dunbar — Triumph of the French . . 206 


Costs of Campaigning— Measures for Public Safetv — Washington in 
Command — Headquarters at Winchester — Lord Fairfax and his 
Troop of Horse — Indian Ravages — Panic at Winchester — Cause 

$oi)tept8 11 

of the Alarm — Operations elsewhere — Shirley against Niagara- 
Johnson against Crown Point — Affair at Lake George — Death 
of Dieskau 210 


Reform in the Militia Laws — Discipline of the Troops — Dagworthy 
and the Question of Preoedence — Washington's Journey to 
Boston— Style of Traveling — Conference with Shirley — The 
Earl of Loudoun — Military Rule for the Colonies — Washington 
at New York — Miss Mary Philipse 224 


Troubles in the Shenandoah Valley — Greenway Court and Lord 
Fairfax in danger — Alarms at Winchester — Washington ap- 
pealed to for Protection — Attacked by the Virginia Press — 
Honored by the Public — Projects for Defense — Suggestions of 
Washington — The Gentlemen Associators — Retreat of the Sav- 
ages — Expedition against Kittanning — Captain Hugh Mercer — 
His Struggle through the Wilderness 281 


Founding of Fort Loudoun — Washington's Tour of Inspection — 
Inefficiency of the Militia System — Gentlemen Soldiers — Cross- 
purposes with Dinwiddie — Military Affairs in the North — De- 
lays of Lord Loudoun — Activity of Montcalm — Loudoun in 
Winter Quarters 248 


Washington vindicates his Conduct to Lord Loudoun — His recep- 
tion by his Lordship — Military Plans — Lord Loudoun at Hali- 
fax — Montcalm on Lake George — His Triumphs — Lord Lou- 
doun's Failures — Washington at Winchester — Continued Mis- 
understandings with Dinwiddie — Return to Mount Vernon . 251 


Washington recovers his Health— Again in Command at Fort Lou- 
doun — Administration of Pitt — Loudoun succeeded by General 
Abercrombie — Military Arrangements — Washington Command- 
er-in-chief of the Virginia Forces-— Amherst against Louisburg 
—General Wolfe — Montgomery — Capture of Louisburg — Aber- 
crombie on Lake George — Death of Lord Howe — Repulse of 
Abercrombie — Success of Bradstreet at Oswego > , . . 259 

12 Qoi?tei>t8 


Slow Operations — Washington orders out the Militia — Mission to 
Williamsburg — Halt at Mr. Chamberlayne's — Mrs. Martha 
Custis — A brief Courtship— An Engagement — Return to Win- 
chester — The Rifle Dress — Indian Scouts — Washington elected 
to the House of Burgesses — Tidings of Amherst's Success — The 
New Road to Fort Duquesne — March for the Fort — Indiscreet 
Conduct of Major Grant — Disastrous Consequences — Washing- 
ton advances against Fort Duquesne — End of the Expedition — 
Washington returns Home— His Marriage 870 


Plan of Operations for 1759 — Investment of Fort Niagara — Death of 
Prideaux— Success of Sir William Johnson — Amherst at Tioon- 
deroga — Wolfe at Quebec — His Triumph and Death — Fate of 
Montcalm — Capitulation of Quebec — Attempt of De Levi to 
retake it — Arrival of a British Fleet — Last Stand of the French 
at Montreal — Surrender of Canada 283 


Washington's Installation in the House of Burgesses — His Rural 
Life— Mount Vernon and its Vicinity— Aristocratical Days of 
Virginia — Washington's Management of his Estate — Domestic 
Habits — Fox-hunting — Lord Fairfax — Fishing and Duck-shoot- 
ing — The Poacher — Lynch Law — Aquatic State— Life at An- 
napolis — Washington in the Dismal Swamp . 300 


Treaty of Peace — Pontiac's War— Course of Public Events — Board 
of Trade against Paper Currency — Restrictive Policy of Eng- 
land — Navigation Laws — Discontents in New England — Of the 
other Colonies — Projects to raise Revenue by Taxation — Blow 
at the Independence of the Judiciary — Naval Commanders em- 
ployed as Custom-house Officers — Retaliation of the Colonists — 
Taxation resisted in Boston — Passing of the Stamp Act — Burst 
of Opposition in Virginia — Speech of Patrick Henry . . . 814 


Washington's Ideas concerning the Stamp Act — Opposition to it in 
the Colonies — Portentous Ceremonials at Boston and New York 
— Non-importation Agreement among the Merchants — Wash- 
ington and George Mason — Dismissal of Grenville from the 

Soptepts 13 

British Cabinet — Franklin before the House of Commons — Re- 
peal of the Stamp Act — Joy of Washington — Fresh Causes of 
Colonial Dissensions — Circular of the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts — Embarkation of Troops for Boston — Measures of the 
Bostonians • . . . 824 


Cheerful Life at Mount Vernon — Washington and George Mason- 
Correspondence concerning the Non-importation Agreement — 
Feeling toward England — Opening of the Legislative Session 
— Semi-regal State of Lord Botetourt — High-toned Proceedings 
of the House — Sympathy with New England — Dissolved by 
Lord Botetourt — Washington and the Articles of Association . 888 


Hood at Boston — The General Court refuses to do Business under 
Military Sway — Resists the Billeting Act — Effect of the Non- 
importation Association — Lord North Premier — Duties revoked 
except on Tea — The Boston Massacre — Dfeuse of Tea — Concilia- 
tory Conduct of Botetourt — His Death 841 


Expedition of Washington to the Ohio, in behalf of Soldiers' Claims 
— Uneasy State of the Frontier— Visit to Fort Pitt — George 
Croghan — His Mishaps during Pontiao's War — Washington de- 
scends the Ohio — Scenes and Adventures along the River— In- 
dian Hunting Camp — Interview with an old Sachem at the 
Mouth of the Kanawha — Return — Claims of Stcbo and Taa 
Braarc — Letter to Colonel George Muse . 845 


U>rd Dunmore Governor of Virginia — Piques the Pride of the Vir~ 
ginians — Opposition of the Assembly — Corresponding Commit- 
tees^ — Death of Miss Custis — Washington's Guardianship of John 
Parke Custis — His Opinions as to Premature Travel and Prema- 
ture Marriage .•,•••••* » • 854 


Lord North's Bill favoring the Exportation of Teas — Ships freighted 
with Tea to the Colonies — Sent back from some of the Ports — 
Tea destroyed at Boston — Passage of the Boston Port Bill — Ses- 

24 Sorjterjts 

sion of the House of Burgesses — Splendid Opening — Burst of 
Indignation at the Port Bill — House Dissolved — Resolutions at 
the Raleigh Tavern — Project of a General Congress — Washing- 
ton and Lord Dunmore — The Port Bill goes into Effect — Gen- 
eral Gage at Boston — League and Covenant 361 


Washington Chairman of a Political Meeting — Correspondence with 
Bryan Fairfax — Patriotic Resolutions — Washington's Opinions 
on Public Affairs — Nonimportation Scheme — Convention at 
Williamsburg — Washington appointed a Delegate to the Gen- 
eral Congress — Letter from Bryan Fairfax — Perplexities of 
General Gage afc Boston 368 


Meeting of the First Congress — Opening Ceremonies — Eloquence of 
Patrick Henry and Henry Lee — Declaratory Resolution — Bill 
of Rights — State Papers — Chatham's Opinions of Congress — 
Washington's Correspondence with Captain Mackenzie — Views 
with respect to Independence — Departure of Fairfax for Eng- 
land 877 


Gage's Military Measures — Removal of Gunpowder from the Arsenal 
— Public Agitation — Alarms in the Country — Civil Government 
obstructed — Belligerent Symptoms — Israel Putnam and Gen- 
eral Charles Lee, their Characters and Stories — General Elec- 
tion — Self constituted Congress — Hancock President — Adjourns 
to Concord — Remonstrance to Gage — His Perplexities — Gen- 
erals Artemas Ward and Seth Pomeroy — Committee of Safety 
— Committee of Supplies — Restlessness throughout the Land — 
Independent Companies in Virginia — Military Tone at Mount 
Vernon — Washington's Military Guests — Major Horatio Gates 
— Anecdotes concerning him — General Charles Lee — His Pe- 
culiarities and Dogs — Washington at the Richmond Conven- 
tion — War Speech of Patrick Henry — Washington's Military 


Infatuation in British Councils — Col. Grant, the Braggart — Coercive 
Measures — Expedition against the Military Magazine at Con- 
cord — Battle of Lexington — The Cry of Blood through the Land 

$optept8 15 

—Old Soldiers of the French War — John Stark — Israel Putnam 
— Rising of the Yeomanry — Measures of Lord Dunmore in Vir- 
ginia — Indignation of the Virginians — Hugh Mercer and the 
Friends of Liberty — Arrival of the News of Lexington at Mount 
Vernon — Effect on Bryan Fairfax, Gates, and Washington . . 403 


Meeting of Troops in the East — Camp at Boston — General Artemas 
Ward — Scheme to surprise Ticonderoga — New Hampshire 
Grants — Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys — Benedict 
Arnold— Affair of Ticonderoga and Crown Point — A Dash at 
St. John's 414 


Second Session of Congress — John Hancock — Petition to the King 
— Federal Union — Military Measures — Debates about the Army 
— Question as to Commander-in-chief — Appointment of Wash- 
ington — Other Appointments — Letters of Washington to his 
Wife and Brother — Preparations for Departure .... 421 


More Troops arrive at Boston — Generals Howe, Burgoyne, and Clin- 
ton — Proclamation of Gage — Nature of the American Army — 
Scornful Conduct of the British Officers — Project of the Ameri- 
cans to seize upon Breed's Hill — Putnam's Opinion of it — Sanc- 
tioned by Prescotc — Nocturnal March of the Detachment — Forti- 
fying of Bunker\s Hill — Break of Day and Astonishment of the 
Eneniv . 430 

Battle of Bunker's Hill 440 


Departure from Philadelphia — Anecdotes of General Schuyler — Of 
Lee — Tidings of Bunker's Hill — Military Councils —Population 
of New York — The Johnson Family — Governor Tryon — Arrival 
at New York — Military Instructions to Schuyler — Arrival at the 
Camp 453 

16 Qoptepts 



Washington takes Command of the Armies— Sketch of General Lee 
— Characters of the British Commanders, Howe, Clinton, and 
Burgoyne — Survey of the Camps from Prospect Hill — The 
Camps contrasted — Description of the Revolutionary Army — 
Rhode Island Troops — Character of General Greene — Washing- 
ton represents the Deficiencies of the Army — His Apology for 
the Massachusetts Troops — Governor Trumbull — Cragie House, 
Washington's Headquarters 465 


Questions of Military Rank — Popularity of Putnam — Arrangements 
at Headquarters — Colonel Mifflin and John Trumbull, Aides-de- 
Camp — Joseph Reed, Washington's Secretary and Confidential 
Friend — Gates as Adjutant-General — Hazardous Situation of the 
Army — Strengthening of the Defenses — Efficiency of Putnam — 
Rapid Changes — New Distribution of the Forces — Rigid Disci- 
pline — Lee and his Cane — His Idea as to Strong Battalions — 
Arrival of Rifle Companies — Daniel Morgan and his Sharp- 
shooters — Washington declines to detach Troops to distant 
Points for their Protection — His Reasons for so doing . . 476 


Washington's object in distressing Boston — Scarcity and Sickness in 
the Town — A Startling Discovery — Scarcity of Powder in the 
Camp — Its Perilous Situation — Economy of Ammunition—Cor- 
respondence between Lee and Burgoyne — Correspondence be- 
tween Washington and Gage — The Dignity of the Patriot Army 
asserted .... 486 


Dangers in the Interior — Machinations of the Johnson Family — Ri- 
valry of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold — Government Per- 
plexities about the Ticonderoga Capture — Measures to secure 
the Prize — Allen and Arnold ambitious of further Laurels— 

<?oi)tept8 17 

Projects for the Invasion of Canada — Ethan Allen and Seth 
Warner honored by Congress — Arnold displaced by a Commit- 
tee of Inquiry — His Indignation — News from Canada — The 
Revolution to be extended into that Province — Enlistment of 
Green Mountain Boys — Schuyler at Ticonderoga — State of 
Affairs there — Election for officers of the Green Mountain Boys 
— Ethan Allen dismounted — Joins the Army as a Volunteer — 
Preparations for the Invasion of Canada — General Montgomery 
— Indian Chiefs at Cambridge — Council Fire — Plan for an Ex- 
pedition against (Quebec — Departure of Troops from Ticonderoga 
— Arrival at Isle aux Noix 405 


A Challenge declined — A Blow meditated — A cautious Council of 
War — Preparations for the Quebec Expedition — Benedict Ar- 
nold the Leader — Advice and Instructions — Departure — General 
Schuyler on the Sorel — Reconnoiters St. John's — Camp at Isle 
aux Noix — Illness of Schuyler — Returns to Ticonderoga — Expe- 
dition of Montgomery against St. John's — Letter of Ethan Allen 
— His Dash against Montreal — Its Catastrophe — A Hero in Irons 
— Correspondence of Washington with Schuyler and Arnold — 
His Anxiety about them 511 


British in Boston send out Cruisers — Depredations of Captain Wal- 
lace along the Coast — Treason in the Camp — Arrest of Dr. 
Church — His Trial and Fate — Conflagration at Falmouth — Irri- 
tation throughout the Country — Fitting out of Vessels of War 
— Embarkation of General Gage for England — Committee from 
Congress — Conferences with Washington — Resolutions of Con- 
gress to carry on the War — Return of Secretary Reed to Phila- 
delphia 528 


Measures of General Howe- -Desecration of Churches — Three Proc- 
lamations—Seizure of Tories — Want of Artillery — Henry Ejiox, 
the Artillerist — His Mission to Ticonderoga — Re-enlistment of 
Troops — Lack of Public Spirit — Comments of General Greene . 538 


Affairs in Canada — Capture of Fort Chamblee — Siege of St. John's — 
Maclean and his Highlanders — Montgomery on the Treatment 

18 Qoi)tei)t8 

of Ethan Allen — Repulse of Carleton— Capitulation of the Garri- 
son of St. John's — Generous Conduct of Montgomery — Maclean 
re-embarks for Quebec — Weary Struggle of Arnold through the 
Wilderness — Defection of Colonel Enos — Arnold in the Valley 
of the Chaudiere— His Arrival opposite Quebec — Surrender of 
Montreal — Escape of Carleton — Homesickness of the American 
Troops 548 


Washington's Anticipations of Success at Quebec — His Eulogium 
of Arnold — Schuyler and Montgomery talk of resigning — Ex- 
postulations of Washington — Their Effect — Schuyler's Conduct 
to a Captive Foe 554 


Difficulties in filling up the Army — The Connecticut Troops persist 
in going Home — Their reception there — Timely Arrival of Spoils 
in the Camp — Putnam and the Prize Mortar — A Maraud by 
Americans — Rebuked by Washington — Correspondence of 
Washington with General Howe about the treatment of 
Ethan Allen— Fraternal Zeal of Levi Allen — Treatment of Gen- 
eral Prescott — Preparations to bombard Boston — Battery at 
Lechmere's Point — Prayer of Putnam for Powder . . . 558 


Mount Vernon in Danger— Mrs. Washington invited to the Camp — 
Lund Washington, the General's Agent—Terms on which he 
serves — Instructed to keep up the Hospitality of the House — 
Journey of Mrs. Washington to Camp— Her Equipage and Liv- 
eries—Arrival at Camp — Domestic Affairs at Headquarters- 
Gay eties in Camp— A Brawl between Round- Jackets and Rifle- 
Shirts 568 


Affairs in Canada — Arnold at Point Levi — Quebec re-enforced — 
Crossing of the St. Lawrence— Landing in Wolfe's Cove— Ar- 
nold on the Heights of Abraham — Cautious Counsel — Quebec 
aroused— The Invaders baffled— Withdraw to Point aux Trem- 
bles — Booming of Cannon — Carleton at Quebec — Letter of Wash- 
ington to Arnold 575 

$or>tei)t8 19 


Lord Dunmore — His Plans of harassing Virginia — Lee's Policy re- 
specting Tory Governors and Placemen — Rhode Island harassed 
by Wallace and his Cruisers, and infested by Tories — Lee sent 
to its Relief — His Vigorous Measures — The Army disbanding — 
Washington's Perplexities — Sympathy of General Greene — His 
Loyalty in time of Trouble — The Crisis — Cheering News from 
Canada — Gloomy Opening of the New Year — News from Colonel 
Knox 581 


Military Preparations in Boston — A Secret Expedition — Its Object 
— Lee's Plan for the Security of New York — Opinion of Adams 
on the Subject — Instructions to Lee — Transactions of Lee in 
Connecticut — Lee's Policy in regard to the Tories — Uneasiness 
in New York — Letter of the Committee of Safety to Lee — His 
Reply — His Opinion of the People of Connecticut — Of the Hys- 
terical Letter from the New York Congress .... 589 




Genealogy of the Washington Family 

The Washington family is of an ancient English stock, 
the genealogy of which has been traced up to the century 
immediately succeeding the Conquest. At that time it was 
in possession of landed estates and manorial privileges in 
the county of Durham, such as were enjoyed only by those, 
or their descendants, who had come over from Normandy 
with the Conqueror, or fought under his standard. When 
William the Conqueror laid waste the whole country north 
of the Humber, in punishment of the insurrection of the 
Northumbrians, he apportioned the estates among his fol- 
lowers, and advanced Normans and other foreigners to the 
principal ecclesiastical dignities. One of the most wealthy 
and important sees was that of Durham. Hither had been 
transported the bones of St. Cuthbert from their original 
shrine at Lindisfarne, when it was ravaged by the Danes. 
That saint, says Camden, was esteemed by princes and 
gentry a titular saint against the Scots.* His shrine, there- 
fore, had been held in peculiar reverence by the Saxons, and 
the see of Durham endowed with extraordinary privileges. 

* Camden, Brit, iv., 349. 

(25) * * * B— Vol. XII. 

366 U/or^s of U/a8l?iQ$toi? Irurr>$ 

"William continued and increased those privileges. He 
needed a powerful adherent on this frontier to keep the rest- 
less Northumbrians in order, and check Scottish invasion; 
and no doubt considered an enlightened ecclesiastic, appointed 
by the crown, a safer depositary of such power than a hered- 
itary noble. 

Having placed a noble and learned native of Lorraine in 
th<* diocese, therefore, he erected it into a palatinate, over 
which the bishop, as Count Palatine, had temporal as well 
as spiritual jurisdiction. He built a strong castle for his 
protection, and to serve as a barrier against the Northern 
foe. He made him lord high-admiral of the sea and waters 
adjoining his palatinate — lord warden of the marches, and 
conservator of the league between England and Scotland. 
Thenceforth, we are told, the prelates of Durham owned no 
earthly superior within their diocese, but continued for cen- 
turies to exercise every right attached to an independent 

The bishop, as Count Palatine, lived in almost royal state 
and splendor. He had his lay chancellor, chamberlains, 
secretaries, stewards, treasurer, master of the horse, and a 
host of minor officers. Still he was under feudal obligations. 
All landed property, in those warlike times, implied military 
service. Bishops and abbots, equally with great barons who 
held estates immediately of the crown, were obliged, when 
required, to furnish the king with armed men in proportion 
to their domains ; but they had their feudatories under them 
to aid them in this service. 

The princely prelate of Durham had his barons and 

* Annals of Roger de Hoveden. Hutchinson's Durham, 
vol. ii. Collectanea Curiosa, vol. ii., p. 83. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}$toQ 27 

knights, who held estates of him on feudal tenure, and were 
bound to serve him in peace and war. They sat occasionally 
in his councils, gave martial splendor to his court, and were 
obliged to have horse and weapon ready for service, for they 
lived in a belligerent neighborhood, disturbed occasionally 
by civil war, and often by Scottish foray. When the banner 
of St. Cuthbert, the royal standard of the province, was 
displayed, no armed feudatory of the bishop could refuse to 
take the field.* 

Some of these prelates, in token of the warlike duties of 
their diocese, engraved on their seals a knight on horseback, 
armed at all points, brandishing in one hand a sword, and 
holding forth in the other the arms of the see. f 

Among the knights who held estates in the palatinate 
on these warlike conditions was William de Hertbttrn, 
the progenitor of the Washingtons. His Norman name of 
William would seem to point out his national descent; and 
the family long continued to have Norman names of bap- 

The surname of De Hertburn was taken from a village 
on the palatinate which he held of the bishop in knight's \ 
fee ; probably the same now called Hartburn on the banks \ 
of the Tees. It had become a custom among the Norman 
families of rank, about the time of the Conquest, to take 
surnames from their castles or estates ; it was not until some 
time afterward that surnames became generally assumed by 
the people.! -"S 

* Robert de Graystanes, Ang. Sac, p. 746. 

f Camden, Brit, iv., 349. 

X Lower on Surnames, vol. i., p. 43. Fuller says that the 
custom of surnames was brought from France in Edward 
the Confessor's time, about fifty years before the Conquest; 

28 U/or^s of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Iruir>$ 

How or when the De Hertburns first acquired possession 
of their village is not known. They may have been com- 
panions in arms with Robert de Brus (or Bruce) a noble 
knight of Normandy, rewarded by William the Conqueror 
with great possessions in the North, and among others, with 
the lordships of Hert and Hertness in the county of Durham. 

The first actual mention we find of the family is in the 
Bolden Book, a record of all the lands appertaining to the 
diocese in 1183. In this it is stated that William de Hert- 
burn had exchanged his village of Hertburn for the manor 
and village of Wessyngton, likewise in the diocese; paying 
the bishop a quitrent of four pounds, and engaging to attend 
him with two greyhounds in grand hunts, and to furnish 
a man at arms whenever military aid should be required of 
the palatinate.* 

The family changed its surname with its estate, and 

but did not become universally settled until some hundred 
years afterward. At first they did not descend hereditarily 
on the family. — Fuller, Church History. Roll Battle Abbey. 

* The Bolden Book. As this ancient document gives 
the first trace of the Washington family, it merits especial 
mention. In 1183, a survey was made by order of Bishop 
de Pusaz of all the lands of the see held in demesne, or by 
tenants in villanage. The record was entered in a book 
called the Bolden Buke; the parish of Bolden occurring first 
in alphabetical arrangement. The document commences in 
the following manner : Incipit liber qui vocatur Bolden Book. 
Anno Dominice Incarnationis, 1183, etc. 

The following is the memorandum in question : 

Willus de Herteburn habet Wessyngton (except aecclesia 
et terra ecclesie partinen) ad excamb, pro villa de Herteburn 
quam pro hac quietam clamavit : Et reddit 4 L. Et vadit 
in magna caza cum 2 Leporar. Et quando commune aux- 
ilium venerit debet dare 1 Militem ad plus de auxilio, etc. — 
Collectanea Curiosa, vol. ii., p. 89. 

The Bolden Buke is a small folio, deposited in the office 
of the bishop's auditor, at Durham. 

Cife of U/a8t?ii?<$toi) 29 

thenceforward assumed that of De Wessyngton.* The 
condition of military service attached to its manor will be 
found to have been often exacted, nor was the service in the 
grand hunt an idle form. Hunting came next to war in 
those days, as the occupation of the nobility and gentry. 
The clergy engaged in it equally with the laity. The hunt- 
ing establishment of the Bishop of Durham was on a princely 
scale. He had his forests, chases, and parks, with their 
train of foresters, rangers and park keepers. A grand hunt 
was a splendid pageant in which all his barons and knights 
attended him with horse and hound. The stipulations with 
the Seignior of "Wessyngton show how strictly the rights of 
the chase were defined. All the game taken by him in going 
to the forest belonged to the bishop; all taken on returning 
belonged to himself, f 

Hugh de Pusaz (or De Pudsay), during whose episcopate 
we meet with this first trace of the De Wessyngtons, was 
a nephew of King Stephen, and a prelate of great preten- 
sions ; fond of appearing with a train of ecclesiastics and an 
armed retinue. When Richard Cceur de Lion put every- 
thing at pawn and sale to raise funds for a crusade to the 
Holy Land, the bishop resolved to accompany him. More 
wealthy than his sovereign, he made magnificent prepara- 
tions. Besides ships to convey his troops and retinue, he 
had a sumptuous galley for himself, fitted up with a throne 
or episcopal chair of silver, and all the household, and even 
culinary utensils, were of the same costly material. In a 

* The name is probably of Saxon origin. It existed in 
England prior to the Conquest. The village of Wassengtone 
is mentioned in a Saxon charter as granted by King Edgar 
in 973 to Thorney Abbey. — Collectanea Topographica, iv. 55. 

f Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii., p. 489. 

80 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii)$toi7 Irvir?$ 

word, had not the prelate been induced to stay at home, and 
aid the king with his treasures, by being made one of the 
regents of the kingdom, and Earl of Northumberland for 
life, the De Wessyngtons might have followed the banner 
of St. Cuthbert to the holy wars. 

Nearly seventy years afterward we find the family still 
retaining its manorial estate in the palatinate. The names 
of Bondo de Wessyngton and William his son appear on 
charters of land, granted in 1257 to religious houses. Soon 
after occurred the wars of the barons, in which the throne 
of Henry III. was shaken by the De Mountforts. The 
chivalry of the palatinate rallied under the royal standard. 
On the list of royal knights who fought for their sovereign 
in the disastrous battle of Lewes (1264), in which the king 
was taken prisoner, we find the name of William Wesh- 
ington, of Weshington.* 

During the splendid pontificate of Anthony Beke (or 
Beak), the knights of the palatinate had continually to be 
in the saddle or buckled in armor. The prelate was so im- 
patient of rest that he never took more than one sleep, say- 
ing it was unbecoming a man to turn from one side to 
another in bed. He was perpetually, when within his dio- 
cese, either riding from one manor to another, or hunting 
and hawkiDg. Twice he assisted Edward I. with all his 
force in invading Scotland. In the progress northward with 
the king, the bishop led the van, marching a day in advance 
of the main body, with a mercenary force, paid by himself, 
of one thousand foot and five hundred horse. Besides these 

* This list of knights was inserted in the Bolden Book as 
an additional entry. It is cited at full length by Hutchinson. 
— Hist. Durham, vol. i., p. 220. 

Cife of U/a8l?iQ<$toi7 31 

he had his feudatories of the palatinate ; six bannerets and 
one hundred and sixty knights, not one of whom, says an 
old poem, but surpassed Arthur himself, though endowed 
with the charmed gifts of Merlin.* We presume the De 
Wessyngtons were among those preux chevaliers, as the ban- 
ner of St. Cuthbert had been taken from its shrine on the 
occasion, and of course all the armed force of the diocese 
was bound to follow. It was borne in front of the army by 
a monk of Durham. There were many rich caparisons, says 
the old poem, many beautiful pennons, fluttering from 
lances, and much neighing of steeds. The hills and valleys 
were covered with sumpter horses and wagons laden with 
tents and provisions. The Bishop of Durham, in his war- 
like state, appeared, we are told, more like a powerful prince 
than a priest or prelate, f 

At the surrender of the crown of Scotland by John Baliol, 
which ended this invasion, the bishop negotiated on the part 
of England. As a trophy of the event, the chair of Schone 
used on the inauguration of the Scottish monarchs, and con- 
taining the stone on which Jacob dreamed, the palladium 
of Scotland, was transferred to England and deposited in 
Westminster Abbey. J 

* Onques Artous pour touz ces charmes, 
Si beau prisent ne ot de Merlyn. 
— Siege of Karlaverock; an old Poem in Norman French, 
f Robert de Graystanes, Ang. Sac, p. 746, cited by 
Hutchinson, vol. i., p. 239. 

I An extract from an inedited poem, cited by Nicolas in 
his translation of the Siege of Carlavarock, gives a striking 
picture of the palatinate in these days of its pride and 
splendor : 

There valor bowed before the rood and book, 
And kneeling knighthood served a prelate lord, 

32 ll/or^s of U/asl?ii)$t09 Iruii><$ 

In the reign of Edward III. we find the De Wessyngtons 
still mingling in chivalrous scenes. The name of Sir Stephen 
de Wessyngton appears on a list of knights (nobles cheva- 
liers) who were to tilt at a tournament at Dunstable in 1334. 
He bore for his device a golden rose on an azure field.* 

He was soon called to exercise his arms on a sterner field. 
In 1346, Edward and his son, the Black Prince, being absent 
with the armies in France, King David of Scotland invaded 
Northumberland with a powerful army. Queen Philippa, 
who had remained in England as regent, immediately took 
the field, calling the northern prelates and nobles to join her 
standard. They all hastened to obey. Among the prelates 
was Hatfield, the Bishop of Durham. The sacred banner 
of St. Cuthbert was again displayed, and the chivalry of the 
palatinate assisted at the famous battle of Nevil's Cross, near 
Durham, in which the Scottish army was defeated and King 
David taken prisoner. 

Queen Philippa hastened with a victorious train to cross 
the sea at Dover and join King Edward in his camp before 
Calais. The prelate of Durham accompanied her. His 
military train consisted of three bannerets, forty-eight 
knights, one hundred and sixty-four esquires, and eighty 

Yet little deigned he on such train to look, 
Or glance of ruth or pity to afford. 

There time has heard the peal rung out at night, 
Has seen from every tower the cressets stream, 

When the red bale fire on yon western height 
Had roused the warder from his fitful dream. 

Has seen old Durham's lion banner float 

O'er the proud bulwark, that, with giant pride 

And feet deep plunged amid the circling moat, 
The efforts of the roving Scot defied. 
* Collect. Topog. et Genealog., t. iv., p. 395. 

Cife of U/a8^ir>«$toi) 33 

archers, on horseback.* They all arrived to witness the 
surrender of Calais (1346), on which occasion Queen Philippa 
distinguished herself by her noble interference in saving the 
lives of its patriotic citizens. 

Such were the warlike and stately scenes in which the 
De Wessyngtons were called to mingle by their feudal duties 
as knights of the palatinate. A few years after the last 
event (1350), William, at that time lord of the manor of 
Wessyngton, had license to settle it and the village upon 
himself, his wife, and "his own right heirs. " He died in 
1367, and his son and heir, William, succeeded to the estate. 
The latter is mentioned under the name of Sir William de 
Weschington, as one of the knights who sat in the privy 
council of the county during the episcopate of John Ford- 
ham, f During this time the whole force of the palatinate 
was roused to pursue a foray of Scots, under Sir William 
Douglas, who, having ravaged the country, were returning 
laden with spoil. It was a fruit of the feud between the 
Douglases and the Percys. The marauders were overtaken 
by Hotspur Percy, and then took place the battle of Otter- 
bourne, in which Percy was taken prisoner and Douglas 
slain .J 

For upward of two hundred years the De Wessyngtons 
had now sat in the councils of the palatinate ; had mingled, 
with horse and hound, in the stately hunts of its prelates, 
and followed the banner of St. Cuthbert to the field; but Sir 
William, just mentioned, was the last of the family that 

* Collier's Eccles. Hist., book vi., cent. xiv. 
f Hutchinson, vol. ii. 

I Theare the Dowglas lost his life, 
And the Percy e was led away. 
— Fordun. Quoted by Surtee's Hist. Durham, vol. i. 

34 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvir;$ 

rendered this feudal service. He was the last male of the 
line to which the inheritance of the manor, by the license 
granted to his father, was confined. It passed away from 
the Wessyngtons, after his death, by the marriage of his 
only daughter and heir, Dionisia, with Sir "William Temple 
of Studley. By the year 1400 it had become the property 
of the Blaykestons.* 

But though the name of De "Wessyngton no longer 
figured on the chivalrous roll of the palatinate, it continued 
for a time to flourish in the cloisters. In the year 1416, 
John De Wessyngton was elected prior of the Benedictine 
convent attached to the cathedral. The monks of this con- 
vent had been licensed by Pope Gregory VII. to perform 
the solemn duties of the cathedral in place of secular clergy, 
and William the Conqueror had ordained that the priors of 
Durham should enjoy all the liberties, dignities, and honors 
of abbots ; should hold their lands and churches in their own 
hands and free disposition, and have the abbot's seat on the 
left side of the choir — thus taking rank of every one but 
the bishop, f 

In the course of three centuries and upward, which had 
since elapsed, these honors and privileges had been subject 
to repeated dispute and encroachment, and the prior had 
nearly been elbowed out of the abbot's chair by the arch- 
deacon. John de Wessyngton was not a man to submit 
tamely to such infringements of his rights. He forthwith set 
himself up as the champion of his priory, and in a learned 
tract, De Juribus et Possessionibus Ecclesise Dunelm, estab- 

* Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii., p. 489. 
f Dugdale Monasticon Anglicanum, t. i., p. 231. Lon- 
don ed. 1846. 

Cife of U/as^ip<$tor> 35 

lished the validity of the long-controverted claims, and fixed 
himself firmly in the abbot's chair. His success in this con- 
troversy gained him much renown among his brethren of 
the cowl, and in 1426 he presided at the general chapter 
of the order of St. Benedict, held at Northampton. 

The stout prior of Durham had other disputes with the 
bishop and the secular clergy touching his ecclesiastical f unc • 
tions, in which he was equally victorious, and several tracts 
remain in manuscript in the dean and chapter's library; 
weapons hung up in the church armory as memorials of his 
polemical battles. 

Finally, after fighting divers good fights for the honor 
of his priory, and filling the abbot's chair for thirty years, 
he died, to use an ancient phrase, "in all the odor of sanc- 
tity," in 1446, and was buried like a soldier on his battlefield, 
at the door of the north aisle of the church, near to the altar 
of St. Benedict. On his tombstone was an inscription in 
brass, now unfortunately obliterated, which may have set 
forth the valiant deeds of this Washington of the clois- 
ters. * 

By this time the primitive stock of the De Wessyngtons 
had separated into divers branches, holding estates in various 
parts of England; some distinguishing themselves in the 
learned professions, others receiving knighthood for public 
services. Their names are to be found honorably recorded 
in county histories, or engraved on monuments in time-worn 
churches and cathedrals, those garnering places of English 
worthies. By degrees the seigneurial sign of de disappeared 
from before the family surname, which also varied from 
"Wessyngton to Wassington, Wasshington, and, finally, to 

* Hutchinson's Durham, vol. ii., passim. 

36 U/oi^s of U/asl?ii)$toi? Irvipo; 

Washington.* A parish in the county of Durham bears 
the name as last written, and in this probably the ancient 
manor of Wessyngton was situated. There is another parish 
of the name in the county of Sussex. 

The branch of the family to which our Washington imme- 
diately belongs sprang from Laurence Washington, Esq., 
of Gray's Inn, son of John Washington, of Warton in Lan- 
cashire. This Laurence Washington was for some time 
mayor of Northampton, and on the dissolution of the priories 
by Henry VIII. he received, in 1538, a grant of the manor 
of Sulgrave, in Northamptonshire, with other lands in the 
vicinity, all confiscated property formerly belonging to the 
monastery of St. Andrew's. 

Sulgrave remained in the family until 1620, and was 
commonly called " Washington's manor." f 

*"The de came to be omitted," says an old treatise, 
"when Englishmen and English manners began to prevail 
upon the recovery of lost credit."*— Restitution of Decayed 
Intelligence in Antiquities. London, 1634. 

About the time of Henry VI., says another treatise, the 
de or d' was generally dropped from surnames, when the title 
of armiger, esquier, among the heads of families, and gen- 
erosus, or gentyhnan, among younger sons, was substituted. 
— Lower, On Surnames, vol. i. 

t The manor of Garsdon, in Wiltshire, has been men- 
tioned as the homestead of the ancestors of our Washington. 
This is a mistake. It was the residence of Sir Laurence 
Washington, second son of the above-mentioned grantee of 
Sulgrave. Elizabeth, granddaughter of this Sir Laurence, 
married Robert Shirley, Earl Ferrers and Viscount of Tam- 
worth. Washington became a baptismal name among the 
Shirleys — several of the Earls Ferrers have borne it. 

The writer of these pages visited Sulgrave a few years 
since. It was in a quiet, rural neighborhood, where the 
farmhouses were quaint and antiquated. A part only of 
the manor house remained, and was inhabited by a farme? 

Cife of U/asI?ir;$ton 37 

One of the direct descendants of the grantee of Sulgrave 
was Sir William Washington, of Packington, in the county 
of Kent. He married a sister of George Villiers, Duke of 
Buckingham, the unfortunate favorite of Charles I. This 
may have attached the Sulgrave Washingtons to the Stuart 
dynasty, to which they adhered loyally and generously 
throughout all its vicissitudes. One of the family, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel James Washington, took up arms in the cause 
of King Charles, and lost his life at the siege of Pontefract 
Castle. Another of the Sulgrave line, Sir Henry Wash- 
ington, son and heir of Sir William, before mentioned, ex- 
hibited in the civil wars the old chivalrous spirit of the 
knights of the palatinate. He served under Prince Rupert 
at the storming of Bristol, in 1643, and when the assailants 
were beaten off at every point, he broke in with a handful 
of infantry at a weak part of the wall, made room for the 
horse to follow, and opened a path to victory.* 

He distinguished himself still more in 1646, when elevated 
to the command of Worcester, the governor having been 
captured by the enemy. It was a time of confusion and 
dismay. The king had fled from Oxford in disguise and 

The Washington crest, in colored glass, was to be seen in 
a window of what was now the buttery. A window on 
which the whole family arms was emblazoned had been 
removed to the residence of the actual proprietor of the 
manor. Another relic of the ancient manor of the Washing- 
tons was a rookery in a venerable grove hard by. The rooks, 
those stanch adherents to old family abodes, still hovered 
and ,cawed about their hereditary nests. In the pavement 
of the parish church we were shown a stone slab bearing 
effigies on plates of brass of Laurence Wasshington, gent., 
and Anne his wife, and their four sons and eleven daughters. 
The inscription in black letter was dated 1564. 
* Clarendon, book vii. 

38 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$tor) Irufr?^ 

gone to the parliamentary camp at Newark. The royal 
cause was desperate. In this crisis Sir Henry received a 
letter from Fairfax, who, with his victorious army, was at 
Haddington, demanding the surrender of Worcester. The 
following was Colonel Washington's reply : 

Sir — It is acknowledged by your books and by report of 
your own quarter, that the king is in some of your armies. 
That granted, it may be easy for you to procure his Maj- 
esty's commands for the disposal of this garrison. Till 
then I shall make good the trust reposed in me. As for 
conditions, if I shall be necessitated I shall make the best 
I can. The worst I know and fear not; if I had, the pro- 
fession of a soldier had not been begun, or so long continued 
by your Excellency's humble servant, 

Henry Washington.* 

In a few days Colonel Whalley invested the city with 
five thousand troops. Sir Henry dispatched messenger after 
messenger in quest of the king to know his pleasure. None 
of them returned. A female emissary was equally unavail- 
ing. Week after week elapsed, until nearly three months 
had expired. Provisions began to fail. The city was in 
confusion. The troops grew insubordinate. Yet Sir Henry 
persisted in the defense. General Fairfax, with 1,500 horse 
and foot, was daily expected. There was not powder enough 
for an hour's contest should the city be stormed. Still Sir 
Henry "awaited his Majesty's commands." 

At length news arrived that the king had issued an order 
for the surrender of all towns, castles and forts. A printed 

* Greene's Antiquities of Worcester, p. 273. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$t09 39 

copy of the order was shown to Sir Henry, and on the faith 
of that document he capitulated (19th July, 1646) on honor- 
able terms, won by his fortitude and perseverance. Those 
who believe in hereditary virtues may see foreshadowed in 
the conduct of this Washington of Worcester the magnani- 
mous constancy of purpose, the disposition to "hope against 
hope/' which bore our Washington triumphantly through 
the darkest days of our revolution. 

We have little note of the Sulgrave branch of the family 
after the death of Charles I. and the exile of his successor. 
England, during the protectorate, became an uncomfortable 
residence to such as had signalized themselves as adherents 
to the house of Stuart. In 1655 an attempt at a general in- 
surrection drew on them the vengeance of Cromwell. Many 
of their party who had no share in the conspiracy, yet sought 
refuge in other lands, where they might live free from mo- 
lestation. This may have been the case with two brothers, 
John and Andrew Washington, great-grandsons of the 
grantee of Sulgrave, and uncles of Sir Henry, the gallant 
defender of Worcester. John had for some time resided at 
South Cave, in the East Riding of Yorkshire;* but now 
emigrated with his brother to Virginia; which colony, from 
its allegiance to the exiled monarch and the Anglican Church, 
had become a favorite resort of the Cavaliers. The brothers 
arrived in Virginia in 1657, and purchased lands in West- 
moreland County, on the northern neck, between the Po- 
tomac and Rappahannock rivers. John married a Miss 

* South Cave is near the Humber. "In the vicinity is 
Cave Castle, an embattled edifice. It has a noble collection 
of paintings, including a portrait of General Washington, 
whose ancestors possessed a portion of the estate." — Lewee ? 
Topog. Diet., vol. i., p. 530. 

40 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvii)$ 

Anne Pope, of the same county, and took up his residence 
on Bridges Creek, near where it falls into the Potomac. He 
became an extensive planter, and, in process of time, a mag- 
istrate and member of the House of Burgesses. Having a 
spark of the old military fire of the family, we find him, as 
Colonel "Washington, leading the Virginia forces, in co-oper- 
ation with those of Maryland, against a band of Seneca 
Indians, who were ravaging the settlements along the Po- 
tomac. In honor of his public services and private virtues 
the parish in which he resided was called after him, and still 
bears the name of Washington. He lies buried in a vault 
on Bridges Creek, which, for generations, was the family 
place of sepulcher. 

The estate continued in the family. His grandson, Au- 
gustine, the father of our Washington, was born there in 
1694. He was twice married; first (April 20, 1715), to Jane, 
daughter of Caleb Butler, Esq., of Westmoreland County, 
by whom he had four children, of whom only two, Lawrence 
and Augustine, survived the years of childhood ; their mother 
died November 24, 1728, and was buried in the family vault. 

On the 6th of March, 1730, he married in second nuptials, 
Mar}^, the daughter of Colonel Ball, a young and beautiful 
girl, said to be the belle of the Northern Neck. By her he 
had four sons, George, Samuel, John Augustine, and Charles ; 
and two daughters, Elizabeth, or Betty, as she was com- 
monly called, and Mildred, who died in infancy. 

George, the eldest, the subject of this biography, was 
born on the 22d of February (11th O.S.), 1732, in the home- 
stead on Bridges Creek. This house commanded a view 
over many miles of the Potomac and the opposite shore of 
Maryland. It had probably been purchased with the prop- 
erty, and was one of the primitive farmhouses of Virginia. 

Cifc of U/asl?iQ$toi} 41 

The roof was steep, and sloped down into low, projecting 
eaves. It had four rooms on the ground-floor, and others in 
the attic, and an immense chimney at each end. Not a ves- 
tige of it remains. Two or three decayed fig-trees, with 
shrubs and vines, linger about the place, and here and there 
a flower grown wild serves "to mark where a garden has 
been." Such, at least, was the case a few years since; but 
these may have likewise passed away. A stone* marks the 
site of the house, and an inscription denotes its being the 
birthplace of Washington. 

We have entered with some minuteness into this genea- 
logical detail; tracing the family step by step through the 
pages of historical documents for upward of six centuries; 
and we have been tempted to do so by the documentary 
proofs it gives of the lineal and enduring worth of the race. 
We have shown that, for many generations, and through a 
variety of eventful scenes, it has maintained an equality 
of fortune and respectability, and whenever brought to the 
test has acquitted itself with honor and loyalty. Hereditary 
rank may be an illusion ; but hereditary virtue gives a patent 
of innate nobleness beyond all the blazonry of the Herald's 

* Placed there by George W. P. Custis, Esq. 

42 U/orKs of U/a8^ir?^top Irvir>$ 


The Home of Washington's Boyhood — His Early Education— Law- 
rence Washington and his Campaign in the West Indies — Death 
of Washington's Father — The Widowed Mother and her Chil- 
dren — School Exercises 

Not long after the birth of George, his father removed 
to an estate in Stafford County, opposite Fredericksburg^ 
The house was similar in style to the one at Bridges Creek, 
and stood on a rising ground overlooking a meadow which 
bordered the Rappahannock. This was the home of George's 
boyhood ; the meadow was his playground, and the scene of 
his early athletic sports; but this home, like that in which 
he was born, has disappeared ; the site is only to be traced 
by fragments of bricks, china, and earthenware. 

In those days the means of instruction in Virginia were 
limited, and it was the custom among the wealthy planters 
to send their sons to England to complete their education. 
This was done by Augustine Washington with his eldest 
son Lawrence, then about fifteen years of age, and whom he 
no doubt considered the future head of the family. George 
was yet in early childhood: as his intellect dawned he re- 
ceived the rudiments of education in the best establishment 
for the purpose that the neighborhood afforded. It was 
what was called, in popular parlance, an "old field school- 
house" ; humble enough in its pretensions, and kept by one 
of his father's tenants named Hobby, who moreover was 
sexton of the parish. The instruction doled out by him 

Cife of U/asl?in$toi) 43 

must have been of the simplest kind, reading, writing, and 
ciphering, perhaps; but George had the benefit of mental 
and moral culture at home, from an excellent father. 

Several traditional anecdotes have been given to the 
world, somewhat prolix and trite, but illustrative of the 
familiar and practical manner in which Augustine Wash- 
ington, in the daily intercourse of domestic life, impressed 
the ductile mind of his child with high maxims of religion 
and virtue, and imbued him with a spirit of justice and 
generosity, and above all a scrupulous love of truth. 

When George was about seven or eight years old his 
brother Lawrence returned from England, a well-educated 
and accomplished youth. There was a difference of four- 
teen years in their ages, which may have been one cause 
of the strong attachment which took place between them. 
Lawrence looked down with a protecting eye upon the 
boy whose dawning intelligence and perfect rectitude won 
his regard ; /while George looked up to his manly and culti- 
vated brother as a model in mind and manners.) We call 
particular attention to this brotherly interchange of affec- 
tion, from the influence it had on all the future career of the 
subject of this memoir. 

Lawrence Washington had something of the old military 
spirit of the family, and circumstances soon called it into 
action. Spanish depredations on British commerce had re- 
cently provoked reprisals. Admiral Vernon, commander-in- 
chief in the West Indies, had accordingly captured Porto 
Bello, on the Isthmus of Darien. The Spaniards were pre- 
paring to revenge the blow; the French were fitting out 
ships to aid them. Troops were embarked in England for 
another campaign in the West Indies; a regiment of four 
battalions was to be raised in the colonies and sent to ioin 

44 U/orks of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvii)$ 

them at Jamaica. There was a sudden outbreak of military- 
ardor in the province ; the sound of drum and fife was heard 
in the villages with the parade of recruiting parties. Law- 
rence Washington, now twenty-two years of age, caught the 
infection. He obtained a captain's commission in the newly- 
raised regiment, and embarked with it for the West Indies 
in 1740. He served in the joint expeditions of Admiral 
Vernon and General Wentworth, in the land forces com- 
manded by the latter, and acquired the friendship and confi- 
dence of both of those officers. He was present at the siege 
of Carthagena, when it was bombarded by the fleet, and 
when the troops attempted to escalade the citadel. It was 
an ineffectual attack ; the ships could not get near enough 
to throw their shells into the town, and the scaling ladders 
proved too short. That part of the attack, however, with 
which Lawrence was concerned, distinguished itself by its 
bravery. The troops sustained unflinching a destructive fire 
for several hours, and at length retired with honor, their 
small force having sustained a loss of about six hundred in 
killed and wounded. 

We have here the secret of that martial spirit so often 
cited of George in his boyish days. He had seen his brother 
fitted out for the wars. He had heard by letter and other- 
wise of the warlike scenes in which he was mingling. All 
his amusements took a military turn. He made soldiers of 
his schoolmates ; they had their mimic parades, reviews, and 
sham fights; a boy named William Bustle was sometimes 
his competitor, but George was commander-in-chief of 
Hobby's school. 

Lawrence Washington returned home in the autumn of 
1742, the campaigns in the West Indies being ended, and 
Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth being recalled to 

Cife of U/asfyip^toi) 45 

England. It was the intention of Lawrence to rejoin his 
regiment in that country, and seek promotion in the army, 
but circumstances completely altered his plans. He formed 
an attachment to Anne, the eldest daughter of the Honor- 
able William Fairfax, of Fairfax County; his addresses were 
well received, and they became engaged. Their nuptials 
were delayed by the sudden and untimely death of his father, 
which took place on the 12th of April, 1743, after a short but 
severe attack of gout in the stomach, and when but forty- 
nine years of age. George had been absent from home on 
a visit during his father's illness, and just returned in time 
to receive a parting look of affection. 

Augustine Washington left large possessions, distributed 
by will among his children. To Lawrence, the estate on the 
banks of the Potomac, with other real property, and several 
shares in iron works. To Augustine, the second son by the 
first marriage, the old homestead and estate in Westmore- 
land. The children by the second marriage were severally 
well provided for, and George, when he became of age, was 
to have the house and lands on the Rappahannock. 

In the month of July the marriage of Lawrence with 
Miss Fairfax took place. He now gave up all thoughts of 
foreign service, and settled himself on his estate on the 
banks of the Potomac, to which he gave the name of Mount 
Vernon, in honor of the admiral. 

Augustine took up his abode at the homestead on Bridges 
Creek, and married Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Wil- 
liam Aylett, Esquire, of Westmoreland County. 

George, now eleven years of age, and the other children 
of the second marriage, had been left under the guardian- 
ship of their mother, to whom was intrusted the proceeds of 
all their property until they should severally come of age. 

46 U/orl^s of U/asbiQ^tor) Irvii)©; 

She proved herself worthy of the trust. Endowed with 
plain, direct good sense, thorough conscientiousness, and 
prompt decision, she governed her family strictly, but 
kindly, exacting deference while she inspired affection. 
George, being her eldest son, was thought to be her favor- 
ite, yet she never gave him undue preference, and the im- 
plicit deference exacted from him in childhood continued to 
be habitually observed by him to the day of her death. He 
inherited from her a high temper and a spirit of command, 
but her early precepts and example taught him to restrain 
and govern that temper, and to square his conduct on the 
exact principles of equity and justice. 

Tradition gives an interesting picture of the widow, with 
her little flock gathered around her, as was her daily wont, 
reading to them lessons of religion and morality out of some 
standard work. Her favorite volume was Sir Matthew 
Hale's Contemplations, moral and divine. The admirable 
maxims therein contained, for outward action as well as 
self-government, sank deep into the mind of George, and, 
doubtless, had a great influence in forming his character. 
They certainly were exemplified in his conduct throughout 
life. This mother's manual, bearing his mother's name, 
Mary "Washington, written with her own hand, was ever 
preserved by him with filial care, and may be seen in the 
archives of Mount Vernon. A precious document! Let 
those who wish to know the moral foundation of his char- 
acter consult its pages. 

Having no longer the benefit of a father's instructions at 
home, and the scope of tuition of Hobby, the sexton, being 
too limited for the growing wants of his pupil, George was 
now sent to reside with Augustine Washington, at Bridges 
Creek, and enjoy the benefit of a superior school in that 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi) 47 

neighborhood, kept by a Mr. Williams. His education, 
however, was plain and practical. He never attempted the 
learned languages, nor manifested any inclination for rhet- 
oric or belles-lettres. His object, or the object of his friends, 
seems to have been confined to fitting him for ordinary busi- 
ness. His manuscript school books still exist, and are models 
of neatness and accuracy. One of them, it is true, a cipher- 
ing book preserved in the library at Mount Vernon, has some 
schoolboy attempts at calligraphy; nondescript birds, exe- 
cuted with a flourish of the pen, or profiles of faces, prob- 
ably intended for those of his schoolmates; the rest are all 
grave and business-like. Before he was thirteen years of 
age he had copied into a volume forms for all kinds of mer- 
cantile and legal papers; bills of exchange, notes of hand, 
deeds, bonds, and the like. This early self -tuition gave him 
throughout life a lawyer's skill in drafting documents, and 
a merchant's exactness in keeping accounts; so that all the 
concerns of his various estates; his dealings with his domes- 
tic stewards and foreign agents ; his accounts with govern- 
ment, and all his financial transactions, are to this day to be 
seen posted up in books, in his own handwriting, monuments 
of his method and unwearied accuracy. 

He was a self-disciplinarian in physical as well as mental 
matters, and practiced himself in all kinds of athletic exer- 
cises, such as running, leaping, wrestling, pitching quoits, 
and tossing bars. His frame even in infancy had been large 
and powerful, and he now excelled most of his playmates in 
contests of agility and strength. As a proof of his muscular 
power, a place is still pointed out at Fredericksburg, near 
the lower ferry, where, when a boy, he flung a stone across 
the Rappahannock. In horsemanship, too, he already ex- 
celled, and was ready to back, and able to manage, the most 

48 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Irvii)<$ 

fiery steed. Traditional anecdotes remain of his achieve- 
ments in this respect. 

Above all, his inherent probity and the principles of jus- 
tice on which he regulated all his conduct, even at this early 
period of life, were soon appreciated by his schoolmates ; he 
was referred to as an umpire in their disputes, and his de- 
cisions were never reversed. As he had formerly been mili- 
tary chieftain, he was now legislator of the school; thus 
displaying in boyhood a type of the future man. 


Paternal Conduct of an Elder Brother — The Fairfax Family — 
Washington's Code of Morals and Manners— Soldiers' Tales — 
Their Influence — Washington prepares for the Navy — A 
Mother's Objections — Return to School — Studies and Exer- 
cises — A Schoolboy Passion — The Lowland Beauty — Love 
Ditties at Mount Vernon — Visit to Belvoir — Lord Fairfax — His 
Character — Fox-hunting a Remedy for Love — Proposition for a 
Surveying Expedition 

The attachment of Lawrence Washington to his brother 
George seems to have acquired additional strength and ten- 
derness on their father's death; he now took a truly paternal 
interest in his concerns, and had him as frequently as pos- 
sible a guest at Mount Vernon. Lawrence had deservedly 
become a popular and leading personage in the country. He 
was a member of the House of Burgesses, and Adjutant- 
General of the district, with the rank of major, and a regu- 
lar salary. A frequent sojourn with him brought George 

Cife of U/asl?iQ$toi) 49 

into familiar intercourse with the family of his father-in-law, 
the Hon. William Fairfax, who resided at a beautiful seat 
called Belvoir, a few miles below Mount Vernon, and on the 
same woody ridge bordering the Potomac. 

"William Fairfax was a man of liberal education and in- 
trinsic worth ; he had seen much of the world, and his mind 
had been enriched and ripened by varied and adventurous 
experience. Of an ancient English family in Yorkshire, he 
had entered the army at the age of twenty-one; had served 
with honor both in the East and West Indies, and offici- 
ated as governor of New Providence, after having aided 
in rescuing it from pirates. For some years past he 
had resided in Virginia, to manage the immense landed 
estates of his cousin, Lord Fairfax, and lived at Bel- 
voir in the style of an English country gentleman, sur- 
rounded by an intelligent and cultivated family of sons 
and daughters. 

An intimacy with a family like this, in which the frank- 
ness and simplicity of rural and colonial life were united 
with European refinement, could not but have a beneficial 
effect in molding the character and manners of a somewhat 
homebred schoolboy. It was probably his intercourse with 
them, and his ambition to acquit himself well in their so- 
ciety, that set him upon compiling a code of morals and 
manners which still exists in a manuscript in his own hand- 
writing, entitled " Rules for Behavior in Company and Con- 
vereation/^j It is extremely minute and circumstantial. 
Some of the rules for personal deportment extend to such 
trivial matters, and are so quaint and formal, as almost to 
provoke a smile; but, in the main, a better manual of con- 
duct could not be put into the hands of a youth. The wh ole 

code evinces that rigid propriety and self-control to which he 

""** *c_vol. XII. 

50 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^toi) Irvlr>$ 

subjected himself, and by which he brought all the impulses 
of a somewhat ardent temper under conscientious govern- 

Other influences were brought to bear on George during 
his visit at Mount Vernon. His brother Lawrence still re- 
tained some of his military inclinations, fostered no doubt by 
his post of Adjutant- General. William Fairfax, as we have 
shown, had been a soldier, and in many trying scenes. Some 
of Lawrence's comrades of the provincial regiment, who had 
served with him in the West Indies, were occasional visitors 
at Mount Vernon ; or a ship of war, possibly one of Vernon's 
old fleet, would anchor in the Potomac, and its officers be 
welcome guests at the tables of Lawrence and his father-in- 
law. Thus military scenes on sea and shore would become 
the topics of conversation. The capture of Porto Bello; the 
bombardment of Carthagena ; old stories of cruisings in the 
East and West Indies, and campaigns against the pirates. 
We can picture to ourselves George, a grave and earnest 
boy, with an expanding intellect and a deep-seated passion 
for enterprise, listening to such conversations with a kin- 
dling spirit and a growing desire for military life. In this 
way most probably was produced that desire to enter the 
navy which he evinced when about fourteen years of age. 
The opportunity of gratifying it appeared at hand. Ships 
of war frequented the colonies, and at times, as we have 
hinted, were anchored in the Potomac. The inclination was 
encouraged by Lawrence Washington and Mr. Fairfax. 
Lawrence retained pleasant recollections of his cruisings 
in the fleet of Admiral Vernon, and considered the naval 
service a popular path to fame and fortune. George was at 
a suitable age to enter the navy. The great difficulty was to 
procure the assent of nis mother. She was brought, how- 


Irving, Vol. Twelve, p. 59. 

Cife of U/asl?in<$toD 51 

ever, to acquiesce; a midshipman's warrant was obtained, 
and it is even said that the luggage of the youth was act- 
ually on board of a man-of-war, anchored in the river just 
below Mount Vernon. 

At the eleventh hour the mother's heart faltered. This 
was her eldest born. A son, whose strong and steadfast 
character promised to be a support to herself and a protec- 
tion to her other children. The thought of his being com- 
pletely severed from her, and exposed to the hardships and 
perils of a boisterous profession, overcame even her resolute 
mind, and at her urgent remonstrances the nautical scheme 
was given up. 

To school, therefore, George returned, and continued his 
studies for nearly two years longer, devoting himself espe- 
cially to mathematics, and accomplishing himself in those 
branches calculated to fit him either for civil or military 
service. Among these, one of the most important, in the 
actual state of the country, was land surveying. In this he 
schooled himself thoroughly, using the highest processes of 
the art; making surveys about the neighborhood, and keep- 
ing regular field books, some of which we have examined, in 
which the boundaries and measurements of the fields sur- 
veyed were carefully entered, and diagrams made, with a 
neatness and exactness as if the whole related to important 
land transactions instead of being mere school exercises. 
Thus, in his earliest days, there was perseverance and com- 
pleteness in all his undertakings. Nothing was left half 
done, or done in a hurried and slovenly manner. The ha bit 
of mind thus cultivated continued throughout life ; so that 
however complicated his tasks and overwhelming his cares, 
in the arduous and hazardous situations in which he was so 
often placed, he found time to do everything, and to do it 

52 UVorKs of U/a8^ip^tor> Irvipo; 

well. He had acquired the magic of method, which of 
itself works wonders. 

In one of these manuscript memorials of his practical 
studies and exercises, we have come upon some documents 
singularly in contrast with all that we have just cited, and 
with his apparently unromantic character. In a word, there 
are evidences, in his own handwriting, that, before he was 
fifteen years of age, he had conceived a passion for some 
unknown beauty, so serious as to disturb his otherwise well- 
regulated mind, and to make him really unhappy. Why 
this juvenile attachment was a source of unhappiness we 
have no positive means of ascertaining. Perhaps the object 
of it may have considered him a mere schoolboy, and treated 
him as such; or his own shyness may have been in his way, 
and his " rules for behavior and conversation" may as yet 
have sat awkwardly on him, and rendered him formal and 
ungainly when he most sought to please. Even in later 
years he was apt to be silent and embarrassed in female so- 
ciety. "He was a very bashful young man," said an old 
lady, whom he used to visit when they were both in their 
nonage. "I used often to wish that he would talk more." 

Whatever may have been the reason, this early attach- 
ment seems to have been a source of poignant discomfort to 
him. It clung to him after he took a final leave of school in 
the autumn of 1747, and went to reside with his brother 
Lawrence at Mount Vernon. Here he continued his mathe- 
matical studies and his practice in surveying, disturbed at 
times by recurrences of his unlucky passion. Though by 
no means of a poetical temperament, the waste pages of his 
journal betray several attempts to pour forth his amorous 
sorrows in verse. They are mere commonplace rhymes, 
such as lovers at his age are apt to write, in which he be- 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 03 


wails his "poor restless heart, wounded by Cupid's dart, 
and "bleeding for one who remains pitiless of his griefs and 


The tenor of some of his verses induces us to believe that 
he never told his love ; but, as we have already surmised, 
was prevented by his bashfulness. 

"Ah, woe is me, that I should love conceal; 
Long have I wished and never dare reveal." 

It is difficult to reconcile one's self to the idea of the cool 
and sedate Washington, the great champion of American 
liberty, a woe- worn lover in his youthful days, "sighing like 
furnace," and inditing plaintive verses about the groves of 
Mount Vernon. We are glad of an opportunity, however, 
of penetrating to his native feelings, and finding that under 
his studied decorum and reserve he had a heart of flesh 
throbbing with the warm impulses of human nature. 

Being a favorite of Sir William Fairfax, he was now an 
occasional inmate of Belvoir. Among the persons at present 
residing there was Thomas, Lord Fairfax, cousin of William 
Fairfax, and of whose immense landed property the latter 
was the agent. As this nobleman was one of Washington's 
earliest friends, and in some degree the founder of his fort- 
unes, his character and history are worthy of especial note. 

Lord Fairfax was now nearly sixty years of age, upward 
of six feet high, gaunt and raw-boned, near-sighted, with 
light gray eyes, sharp features, and an aquiline nose. How- 
ever ungainly his present appearance, he had figured to 
advantage in London life in his younger days. He had 
received his education at the University of Oxford, where 
he acquitted himself with credit. He afterward held a com- 
mission, and remained for some time in a regiment of horse 
called the Blues. His title and connections, of course, gave 

54 U/orl^s of U/a8f>ii)$toi) Irvir>$ 

him access to the best society, in which he acquired addi- 
tional currency by contributing a paper or two to Addison's 
Spectator, then in great vogue. 

In the height of his fashionable career, he became strongly 
attached to a young lady of rank ; paid his addresses, and 
was accepted. The wedding day was fixed; the wedding 
dresses were provided ; together with servants and equipages 
for the matrimonial establishment. Suddenly the lady broke 
her engagement. She had been dazzled by the superior bril- 
liancy of a ducal coronet. 

It was a cruel blow, alike to the affection and pride of 
Lord Fairfax, and wrought a change in both character and 
conduct. From that time he almost avoided the sex, and 
became shy and embarrassed in their society, excepting 
among those with whom he was connected or particularly 
intimate. This may have been among the reasons which 
ultimately induced him to abandon the gay world and bury 
himself in the wilds of America. He made a voyage to Vir- 
ginia about the year 1739, to visit his vast estates there. 
These he inherited from his mother, Catharine, daughter of 
Thomas, Lord Culpepper, to whom they had been granted 
by Charles II. The original grant was for all the lands lying 
between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers; meaning 
thereby, it is said, merely the territory on the northern neck, 
east of the Blue Ridge. His lordship, however, discovering 
that the Potomac headed in the Alleghany Mountains, re- 
turned to England and claimed a correspondent definition of 
his grant. It was arranged by compromise ; extending his 
domain into the Alleghany Mountains, and comprising, 
among other lands, a great portion of the Shenandoah 

Lord Fairfax had been delighted with his visit to Vir- 

Cife of U/asfy/o^too 55 

ginia. The amenity of the climate, the magnificence of the 
forest scenery, the abundance of game — all pointed it out as 
a favored land. He was pleased, too, with the frank, cor- 
dial character of the Virginians, and their independent mode 
of life; and returned to it with the resolution of taking up 
his abode there for the remainder of his days. His early 
disappointment in love was the cause of some eccentricities 
in his conduct; yet he was amiable and courteous in his 
manners, and of a liberal and generous spirit. 

Another inmate of Belvoir at this time was George Wil- 
liam Fairfax, about twenty-two years of age, the eldest son 
of the proprietor. He had been educated in England, and 
since his return had married a daughter of Colonel Carey, of 
Hampton, on James River. He had recently brought home 
his bride and her sister to his father's house. 

The merits of "Washington were known and appreciated 
by the Fairfax family. Though not quite sixteen years of 
age, he no longer seemed a boy, nor was he treated as such. 
Tall, athletic, and manly for his years, his early self-train- 
ing, and the code of conduct he had devised, gave a gravity 
and decision to his conduct ; his frankness and modesty in- 
spired cordial regard, and the melancholy, of which he 
speaks, may have produced a softness in his manner calcu- 
lated to win favor in ladies' eyes. According to his own ac- 
count, the female society by which he was surrounded had 
a soothing effect on that melancholy. The charms of Miss 
Carey, the sister of the bride, seem even to have caused a 
alight fluttering in his bosom; which, however, was con- 
stantly rebuked by the remembrance of his former passion 
— so at least we judge from letters to his youthful confi- 
dants, rough drafts of which are still to be seen in his tell* 
tale journal. 

56 ll/or^s of U/as^li>^toi) Irvir>$ 

To one whom he addresses as his dear friend Robin, he 
writes: "My residence is at present at his lordship's, where 
I might, was my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleas- 
antly, as there's a very agreeable young lady lives in the 
same house (Col. George Fairfax's wife's sister); but as 
that's only adding fuel to fire, it makes me the more uneasy, 
for by often and unavoidably being in company with her re- 
vives my former passion for your Lowland Beauty; whereas 
was I to live more retired from young women, I might in 
some measure alleviate my sorrows by burying that chaste 
and troublesome passion in the grave of oblivion," etc. 

Similar avowals he makes to another of his young corre- 
spondents, whom he styles, "Dear friend John"; as also to 
a female confidant, styled "Dear Sally," to whom he ac- 
knowledges that the company of the "very agreeable young 
lady, sister-in-law of Col. George Fairfax," in a great meas- 
ure cheers his sorrow and dejectedness. 

The object of this early passion is not positively known. 
Tradition states that the "lowland beauty" was a Miss 
Grimes, of Westmoreland, afterward Mrs. Lee, and mother 
of General Henry Lee, who figured in revolutionary history 
as Light Horse Harry, and was always a favorite with Wash- 
ington, probably from the recollections of his early tender- 
ness for the mother. 

Whatever may have been the soothing effect of the fe- 
male society by which he was surrounded at Belvoir, the 
youth found a more effectual remedy for his love melan- 
choly in the company of Lord Fairfax. His lordship was a 
stanch fox-hunter, and kept horses and hounds in the English 
style. The hunting season had arrived. The neighborhood 
abounded with sport ; but fox-hunting, in Virginia, required 
bold and skillful horsemanship. He found Washington as 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$ton 57 

bold as himself in the saddle, and as eager to follow the 
hounds. He forthwith took him into peculiar favor; made 
him his hunting companion ; and it was probably under the 
tuition of this hard-riding old nobleman that the youth im- 
bibed that fondness for the chase for which he was afterward 

Their fox-hunting intercourse was attended with more 
important results. His lordship's possessions beyond the 
Blue Ridge had never been regularly settled nor surveyed. 
Lawless intruders— squatters, as they were called — were 
planting themselves along the finest streams and in the 
richest valleys, and virtually taking possession of the coun- 
try. It was the anxious desire of Lord Fairfax to have 
these lands examined, surveyed, and portioned out into lots, 
preparatory to ejecting these interlopers or bringing them 
to reasonable terms. In "Washington, notwithstanding his 
youth, he beheld one fit for the task— having noticed the 
exercises in surveying which he kept up while at Mount 
Vernon, and the aptness and exactness with which every 
process was executed. He was well calculated, too, by his 
vigor and activity, his courage and hardihood, to cope with 
the wild country to be surveyed, and with its still wilder 
inhabitants. The proposition had only to be offered to Wash- 
ington to be eagerly accepted. It was the very kind of oc- 
cupation for which he had been diligently training himself. 
All the preparations required by one of his simple habits 
were soon made, and in a very few days he was ready for 
his first expedition into the wilderness. 

88 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$tor) Iruip^ 


Expedition beyond the Blue Ridge—The Valley of the Shenan- 
doah — Lord Halifax— Lodge in the Wilderness — Surveying — 
Life in the Backwoods — Indians — War Dance— German Set- 
tlers — Return Home — Washington as Public Surveyor— So- 
journ at Greenway Court— Horses, Hounds, and Books- 
Rugged Experience among the Mountains 

It was in the month of March (1748), and just after he 
had completed his sixteenth year, that Washington set out 
on horseback on this surveying expedition, in company with 
George William Fairfax. Their route lay by Ashley's Gap, 
a pass through the Blue Ridge, that beautiful line of moun- 
tains which, as yet, almost formed the western frontier of 
inhabited Virginia. Winter still lingered on the tops of the 
mountains, whence melting snows sent down torrents, which 
swelled the rivers and occasionally rendered them almost im- 
passable. Spring, however, was softening the lower parts of 
the landscape and smiling in the valleys. 

They entered the great valley of Virginia, where it is 
about twenty-five miles wide ; a lovely and temperate region, 
diversified by gentle swells and slopes, admirably adapted 
to cultivation. The Blue Ridge bounds it on one side, the 
North Mountain, a ridge of the Alleghanies, on the other; 
while through it flows that bright and abounding river which, 
on account of its surpassing beauty, was named by the In- 
dians the Shenandoah — that is to say, "the daughter of the 
stars.' ' 

Cife of U/asl?i9$toi) 59 

The first station of the travelers was at a kind of lodge in 
the wilderness, where the steward or land-bailiff of Lord 
Fairfax resided, with such negroes as were required for 
farming purposes, and which Washington terms "his lord- 
ship's quarters.'* It was situated not far from the Shenan 
doah, and about twelve miles from the site of the present 
town of Winchester. 

In a diary kept with his usual minuteness, Washington 
speaks with delight of the beauty of the trees and the rich- 
ness of the land in the neighborhood, and of his riding 
through a noble grove of sugar maples on the banks of the 
Shenandoah; and at the present day, the magnificence of 
the forests which still exist in this favored region justifies 
his eulogium. 

He looked around, however, with an eye to the profitable 
rather than the poetical. The gleam of poetry and romance, 
inspired by his "lowland beauty," occurs no more. The real 
business of life has commenced with him. His diary affords 
no food for fancy. Everything is practical. The qualities 
of the soil, the relative value of sites and localities, are faith- 
fully recorded. In these his early habits of observation and 
his exercises in surveying had already made him a proficient. 

His surveys commenced in the lower part of the valley, 
some distance above the junction of the Shenandoah with 
the Potomac, and extended for many miles along the former 
river. Here and there partial "clearings" had been made 
by squatters and hardy pioneers, and their rude husbandry 
had produced abundant crops of grain, hemp, and tobacco; 
civilization, however, had hardly yet entered the valley, if 
we may judge from the note of a night's lodging at the house 
of one of the settlers — Captain Hite, near the sight of the 
present town of Winchester. Here, after supper, most of 

60 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^toi) Irvii)©; 

the company stretched themselves, in backwood style, be- 
fore the fire; but "Washington was shown into a bedroom. 
Fatigued with a hard day's work at surveying, he soon un- 
dressed; but instead of being nestled between sheets in a 
comfortable bed, as at the maternal home, or at Mount Ver- 
non, he found himself on a couch of matted straw, under a 
threadbare blanket, swarming with unwelcome bedfellows. 
After tossing about for a few moments, he was glad to put 
on his clothes again, and rejoin his companions before the 

Such was his first experience of life in the wilderness ; he 
soon, however, accustomed himself to " rough it," and adapt 
himself to fare of all kinds, though he generally preferred a 
bivouac before a fire in the open air to the accommodations 
of a woodman's cabin. Proceeding down the valley to the 
banks of the Potomac, they found that river so much swollen 
by the rain which had fallen among the Alleghanies as to 
be unfordable. To while away the time until it should sub- 
side, they made an excursion to examine certain warm springs 
in a valley among the mountains, since called the Berkeley 
Springs. There they camped out at night under the stars; 
the diary makes no complaint of their accommodations ; and 
their camping-ground is now known as Bath, one of the 
favorite watering-places of Virginia. Oue of the warm 
springs was subsequently appropriated by Lord Fairfax to 
his own use, and still bears his name. 

After watching in vain for the river to subside, they pro- 
cured a canoe, on which they crossed to the Maryland side, 
swimming their horses. A weary day's ride of forty miles 
up the left side of the river, in a continual rain, and over 
what "Washington pronounces the worst road ever trod by 
man or beast, brought them to the house of a Colonel Cresap, 

Cife of U/a8l?ii?$toi) 61 

opposite the south branch of the Potomac, where they put up 
for the night. 

Here they were detained three or four days by inclement 
weather. On the second day they were surprised by the ap- 
pearance of a war party of thirty Indians bearing a scalp as 
a trophy. A little liquor procured the spectacle of a war- 
dance. A large space was cleared, and a fire made in the 
center, round which the warriors took their seats. The prin- 
cipal orator made a speech, reciting their recent exploits, and 
rousing them to triumph. One of the warriors started up 
as if from sleep, and began a series of movements, half- 
grotesque, half -tragical ; the rest followed. For music, one 
savage drummed on a deerskin, stretched over a pot half 
filled with water ; another rattled a gourd, containing a few 
shot, and decorated with a horse's tail. Their strange out- 
cries, and uncouth forms and garbs, seen by the glare of the 
fire, and their whoops and yells, made them appear moro 
like demons than human beings. All this savage gambol 
was no novelty to Washington's companions, experienced in 
frontier life ; but to the youth, fresh from school, it was a 
strange spectacle, which he sat contemplating with deep in- 
terest, and carefully noted down in his journal. It will be 
found that he soon made himself acquainted with the savage 
character, and became expert at dealing with these inhabi- 
tants of the wilderness. 

From this encampment the party proceeded to the mouth 
of Patterson's Creek, where they recrossed the river in a 
canoe, swimming their horses as before. More than two 
weeks were now passed by them in the wild mountainous 
regions of Frederick County, and about the south branch of 
the Potomac, surveying lands and laying out lots, camped 
out the greater part of the time, and subsisting on wild tur- 

62 U/orKs of U/a8^ii>^tor> Iruio$ 

keys and other game. Each one was his own cook ; forked 
sticks served for spits, and chips of wood for dishes. The 
weather was unsettled. At one time their tent was blown 
down ; at another they were driven out of it by smoke ; now 
they were drenched with rain, and now the straw on which 
Washington was sleeping caught fire, and he was awakened 
by a companion just in time to escape a scorching. 

The only variety to this camp life was a supper at the 
house of one Solomon Hedge, Esquire, his Majesty's justice 
of the peace, where there were no forks at table, nor any 
knives, but such as the guests brought in their pockets. 
During their surveys they were followed by numbers of peo- 
ple, some of them squatters, anxious, doubtless, to procure a 
cheap title to the land they had appropriated; others, Ger- 
man emigrants, with their wives and children, seeking a 
new home in the wilderness. Most of the latter could not 
speak English ; but when spoken to answered in their native 
tongue. They appeared to Washington ignorant as Indians, 
and uncouth, but " merry, and full of antic tricks.' ' Such 
were the progenitors of the sturdy yeomanry now inhabiting 
those parts, many of whom still preserve their strong Ger- 
man characteristics. 

"I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed," 
writes Washington to one of his friends at home, "but after 
walking a good deal all the day I have lain down before the 
fire upon a little straw or fodder, or a bear skin, whichever 
was to be had, with man, wife, and children, like dogs and 
cats; and happy is he who gets the berth nearest the fire." 

Having completed his surveys, he set forth from the 
south branch of the Potomac on his return homeward; 
crossed the mountains to the great Cacapehon; traversed 
the Shenandoah Valley, passed through the Blue Ridge, 

Cife of U/asl^ir^top 63 

and on the 12th of April found himself once more at Mount 
Vernon. For his services he received, according to his note 
book, a doubloon per day when actively employed, and some- 
times six pistoles.* 

The manner in which he had acquitted himself in this 
arduous expedition, and his accounts of the country sur- 
veyed, gave great satisfaction to Lord Fairfax, who shortly 
afterward moved across the Blue Ridge, and took up his 
residence at the place heretofore noted as his "quarters." 
Here he laid out a manor, containing ten thousand acres of 
arable grazing lands, vast meadows, and noble forests, and 
projected a spacious manor house, giving to the place the 
name of Greenway Court. 

It was probably through the influence of Lord Fairfax 
that Washington received the appointment of public sur- 
veyor. This conferred authority on his surveys, and en- 
titled them to be recorded in the county offices; and so in- 
variably correct have these surveys been found that, to this 
day, wherever any of them stand on record, they receive 
implicit credit. 

For three years he continued in this occupation, which 
proved extremely profitable, from the vast extent of country 
to be surveyed and the very limited number of public sur- 
veyors. It made him acquainted, also, with the country, 
the nature of the soil in various parts, and the value of lo- 
calities ; all which proved advantageous to him in his pur- 
chases in after years. Many of the finest parts of the Shen- 
andoah Valley are yet owned by members of the Washington 

While thus employed for months at a time surveying 

* A pistole is $3.60. 

64 U/orKs of U/a8l?in$tor) Irvlpo; 

the lands beyond the Blue Ridge, he was often an inmate of 
Green way Court. The projected manor house was never even 
commenced. On a green knoll overshadowed by trees was a 
long stone building one story in height, with dormer win- 
dows, twb wooden belfries, chimneys studded with swallow 
and martin coops, and a roof sloping down, in the old Vir- 
ginia fashion, into low, projecting eaves that formed a ve- 
randa the whole length of the house. It was probably the 
house originally occupied by his steward or land agent, but 
was now devoted to hospitable purposes and the reception of 
guests. As to his lordship, it was one of his many eccen- 
tricities that he never slept in the main edifice, but lodged 
apart in a wooden house not much above twelve feet 
square. In a small building was his office, where quit- 
rents were given, deeds drawn, and business transacted 
with his tenants. 

About the knoll were outhouses for his numerous ser- 
vants, black and white, with stables for saddle-horses and 
hunters, and kennels for his hounds ; for his lordship retained 
his keen hunting propensities, and the neighborhood abounded 
in game. Indians, half-breeds and leathern-clad woodmen 
loitered about the place, and partook of the abundance of the 
kitchen. His lordship's table was plentiful but plain, and 
served in the English fashion. 

Here Washington had full opportunity, in the proper sea- 
sons, of indulging his fondness for field sports, and once 
more accompanying his lordship in the chase. The con- 
versation of Lord Fairfax, too, was full of interest and in- 
struction to an inexperienced youth, from his cultivated tal- 
ents, his literary taste, and his past intercourse with the best 
society of Europe and its most distinguished authors. He 
had brought books, too, with him into the wilderness, and 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi} 65 

from Washington's diary we find that during his sojourn 
here he was diligently reading the history of England, and 
the essays of the Spectator. 

Such was Greenway Court in these its palmy days. We 
visited it recently and found it tottering to its fall, moulder- 
ing in the midst of a magnificent country, where nature still 
flourishes in full luxuriance and beauty. 

Three or four years were thus passed^ by Washington, the 
greater part of the time beyond the Blue Ridge, but occa- 
sionally with his brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. His 
rugged and toilsome expeditions in the mountains, among 
rude scenes and rough people, inured him to hardships and 
made him apt at expedients; while his intercourse with his 
cultivated brother, and with the various members of the 
Fairfax family, had a happy effect in toning up his mind 
and manners, and counteracting the careless and self -indul- 
gent habitudes of the wilderness. 

66 U/orl^s of Wastyqqtor) Irvir>$ 


English and French Claims to the Ohio Valley — Wild State of the 
Country — Projects of Settlements — The Ohio Company — En- 
lightened Views of Lawrence Washington — French Rivalry — 
Celeron de Bienville — His Signs of Occupation — Hugh Craw- 
ford—George Croghan, a veteran Trader, and Montour, his 
Interpreter— Their Mission from Pennsylvania to the Ohio 
Tribes — Christopher Gist, the Pioneer of the Yadkin — Agent of 
the Ohio Company — His Expedition to the Frontier — Reprobate 
Traders at Logstown — Negotiations with the Indians — Scenes in 
the Ohio Country — Diplomacy at Piqua — Kegs of Brandy and 
Rolls of Tobacco — Gist's Return across Kentucky — A Deserted 
Home — French Scheme — Captain Joncaire, a Diplomat of the 
Wilderness — His Speech at Logstown — The Indians' Land — 
4 ' Where?" 

During the time of Washington's surveying campaigns 
among the mountains, a grand colonizing scheme had been 
set on foot, destined to enlist him in hardy enterprises, and 
in some degree to shape the course of his future fortunes. 

The treaty of peace concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle, which 
had put an end to the general war of Europe, had left unde- 
fined the boundaries between the British and French posses- 
sions in America — a singular remissness, considering that 
they had long been a subject in dispute and a cause of fre- 
quent conflicts in the colonies. Immense regions were still 
claimed by both nations, and each was now eager to forestall 
the other by getting possession of them, and strengthening 
its claim by occupancy. 

The most desirable of these regions lay west of the 

Cife of U/asI?ir)^toi) 67 

Alleghany Mountains, extending from the lakes to the Ohio, 
and embracing the valley of that river and its tributary 
streams. An immense territory, possessing a salubrious 
climate, fertile soil, fine hunting and fishing grounds, and 
facilities by lakes and rivers for a vast internal commerce. 

The French claimed all this country quite to the Alle- 
ghany Mountains by the right of discovery. In 1673, Padre 
Marquette, with his companion, Joliet, of Quebec, both sub- 
jects of the crown of France, had passed down the Missis- 
sippi in a canoe quite to the Arkansas, thereby, according 
to an alleged maxim in the law of nations, establishing the 
right of their sovereign, not merely to the river so discovered 
and its adjacent lands, but to all the country drained by its 
tributary streams, of which the Ohio was one — a claim the 
ramifications of which might be spread, like the meshes of 
a web, over half the continent. 

To this illimitable claim the English opposed a right 
derived, at second hand, from a traditionary Indian con- 
quest. A treaty, they said, had been made at Lancaster, in 
1744, between commissioners from Pennsylvania, Maryland 
and Virginia, and the Iroquois, or Six Nations, whereby the 
latter, for four hundred pounds, gave up all right and title 
to the land west of the Alleghany Mountains, even to the 
Mississippi, which land, according to their traditions, had 
been conquered by their forefathers. 

It is undoubtedly true that such a treaty was made, and 
such a pretended transfer of title did take place, under the 
influence of spirituous liquors; but it is equally true that 
the Indians in question did not, at the time, possess an acre 
of the land conveyed, and that the tribes actually in posses- 
sion scoffed at their pretensions, and claimed the country as 
their own from time immemorial. 

68 U/orl^s of U/asfyfQ<£toi} Iruip<$ 

Such were the shadowy foundations of claims which tho 
two nations were determined to maintain to the uttermost, 
and which ripened into a series of wars, ending in a loss to 
England of a great part of her American possessions, and 
to France of the whole. 

As yet in the region in question there was not a single 
white settlement. Mixed Iroquois tribes of Delawares, 
Shawnees and Mingoes had migrated into it early in the 
century from the French settlements in Canada, and taken 
up their abodes about the Ohio and its branches. The 
French pretended to hold them under their protection ; but 
their allegiance, if ever acknowledged, had been sapped of 
late years by the influx of fur traders from Pennsylvania. 
These were often rough, lawless men ; half Indians in dress 
and habits, prone to brawls, and sometimes deadly in their 
feuds. They were generally in the employ of some trader, 
who, at the head of his retainers and a string of pack-horses, 
would make his way over mountains and through forests to 
the banks of the Ohio, establish his headquarters in some 
Indian town, and disperse his followers to traffic among the 
hamlets, hunting-camps and wigwams, exchanging blankets, 
gaudy colored cloth, trinketry, powder, shot and rum, for 
valuable furs and peltry. In this way a lucrative trade with 
these western tribes was springing up and becoming monop- 
olized by the Pennsylvanians. 

To secure a participation in this trade, and to gain a foot- 
hold in this desirable region, became now the wish of some 
of the most intelligent and enterprising men of Virginia and 
Maryland, among whom were Lawrence and Augustine 
Washington. With these views they projected a scheme, in 
connection with John Hanbury, a wealthy London mer- 
chant, to obtain a grant of land from the British government, 

Cife of U/asfoir^tor) 69 

for the purpose of forming settlements or colonies beyond 
the Alleghanies. Government readily countenanced a 
scheme by which French encroachments might be fore- 
stalled and prompt and quiet possession secured of the great 
Ohio Valley. An association was accordingly chartered in 
1749, by the name of "the Ohio Company,' ' and five hun- 
dred thousand acres of land was granted to it west of the 
Alleghanies, between the Monongahela and Kanawha Riv- 
ers; though part of the land might be taken up north of the 
Ohio, should it be deemed expedient. The company were to 
pay no quitrent for ten years ; but they were to select two- 
fifths of their lands immediately; to settle one hundred 
families upon them within seven years; to build a fort at 
their own expense, and maintain a sufficient garrison in it 
for defense against the Indians. 

Mr. Thomas Lee, president of the council of Virginia, 
took the lead in the concerns of the company at the outset, 
and by many has been considered its founder. On his 
death, which soon took place, Lawrence Washington had the 
chief management. His enlightened mind and liberal spirit 
shone forth in his earliest arrangements. He wished to form 
the settlements with Germans from Pennsylvania. Being 
dissenters, however, they would be obliged, on becoming 
residents within the jurisdiction of Virginia, to pay parish 
rates and maintain a clergyman of the Church of England, 
though they might not understand his language nor relish 
his doctrines. Lawrence sought to have them exempted 
from this double tax on purse and conscience. 

"It has ever been my opinion," said he, "and I hope it 
ever will be, that restraints on conscience are cruel in regard 
to those on whom they are imposed and injurious to the 
country imposing them. England, Holland and Prussia I 

70 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top Iruii}^ 

may quote as examples, and much more Pennsylvania, 
which has flourished under that delightful liberty, so as to 
become the admiration of every man who considers the short 

time it has been settled This colony (Virginia) was 

greatly settled in the latter part of Charles the First's time, 
and during the usurpation by the zealous churchmen; and 
that spirit, which was then brought in, has ever since con- 
tinued ; so that, except a few Quakers, we have no dissenters. 
But what has been the consequence? We have increased 
by slow degrees, while our neighboring colonies, whose 
natural advantages are greatly inferior to ours, have be- 
come populous." 

Such were the enlightened views of this brother of our 
Washington, to whom the latter owed much of his moral and 
mental training. The compauy proceeded to make prepara- 
tions for their colonizing scheme. Goods were imported 
from England suited to the Indian trade, or for presents to 
the chiefs. Rewards were promised to veteran warriors and 
hunters among the natives acquainted with the woods and 
mountains, for the best route to the Ohio. Before the com- 
pany had received its charter, however, the French were in 
the field. Early in 1749, the Marquis de la Galisonniere, 
Governor of Canada, dispatched Celeron de Bienville, an 
intelligent officer, at the head of three hundred men, to the 
banks of the Ohio, to make peace, as he said, between the 
tribes that had become embroiled with each other during 
the late war, and to renew the French possession of their 
country. Celeron de Bienville distributed presents among 
the Indians, made speeches reminding them of former friend- 
ship, and warned them not to trade with the English. 

He furthermore nailed leaden plates to trees, and buried 
others in the earth, at the confluence of the Ohio and its 

Cife of U/asfoiQ^toi) 71 

tributaries, bearing inscriptions purporting that all the lands 
on both sides of the rivers to their sources appertained, as 
in foregone times, to the crown of France.* The Indians 
gazed at these mysterious plates with wondering eyes, but 
surmised their purport. "They mean to steal our country 
from us," murmured they; and they determined to seek 
protection from the English. 

Celeron rinding some traders from Pennsylvania traffick- 
ing among the Indians, he summoned them to depart, and 
Wrote by them to James Hamilton, Governor of Pennsyl- 
vania, telling him the object of his errand to those parts, 
and his surprise at meeting with English traders in a country 
to which England had no pretensions ; intimating that, in 
future, any intruders of the kind would be rigorously dealt 

His letter, and a report of his proceedings on the Ohio, 
roused the solicitude of the governor and council of Pennsyl- 
vania, for the protection of their Indian trade. Shortly 
afterward, one Hugh Crawford, who had been trading with 
the Miami tribes on the Wabash, brought a message from 
them, speaking of the promises and threats with which the 
French were endeavoring to shake their faith, but as- 
suring the governor that their friendship for the En- 
glish "would last while the sun and moon ran round 
the world." This message was accompanied by three 
strings of wampum. 

Governor Hamilton knew the value of Indian friendship, 
and suggested to the Assembly that it would be better to 
clinch it with presents, and that as soon as possible. An 

* One of these plates, bearing date August 16, 1749, was 
found in recent years at the confluence of the Muskingum 
with the Ohio. 

72 U/orl{8 of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irving 

envoy accordingly was sent off early in October, who was 
supposed to have great influence among the western tribes. 
This was one George Croghan, a veteran trader, shrewd and 
sagacious, who had been frequently to the Ohio country with 
pack-horses and followers, and made himself popular among 
the Indians by dispensing presents with a lavish hand. He 
was accompanied by Andrew Montour, a Canadian of half 
Indian descent, who was to act as interpreter. They were 
provided with a small present for the emergency ; but were 
to convoke a meeting of all the tribes at Logstown, on the 
Ohio, early in the ensuing spring, to receive an ample pres- 
ent which would be provided by the Assembly. 

It was some time later in the same autumn that the Ohio 
Company brought their plans into operation, and dispatched 
an agent to explore the lands upon the Ohio and its branches 
as low as the Great Falls, take note of their fitness for culti- 
vation, of the passes of the mountains, the courses and bear- 
ings of the rivers, and the strength and disposition of the 
native tribes. The man chosen for the purpose was Chris- 
topher Gist, a hardy pioneer, experienced in woodcraft and 
Indian life, who had his home on the banks of the Yadkin, 
near the boundary line of Virginia and North Carolina. He 
was allowed a woodman or two for the service of the expe- 
dition. He set out on the 31st of October, from the banks 
of the Potomac, by an Indian path which the hunters had 
pointed out leading from Wills' Creek, since called Fort 
Cumberland, to the Ohio. Indian paths and buffalo tracks 
are the primitive highways of the wilderness. Passing the 
Juniata, he crossed the ridges of the Alleghany, arrived at 
Shannopin, a Delaware village on the southeast side of the 
Ohio, or rather of that upper branch of it now called the 
Alleghany, swam his horses across that river, and descend- 

Cife of \JJastyT)$toT) 73 

ing along its valley arrived at Logstown, an important 
Indian village a little below the site of the present city of 
Pittsburg. Here usually resided Tanacharisson, a Seneca 
chief of great note, being head sachem of the mixed tribes 
which had migrated to the Ohio and its branches. He was 
generally surnamed the Half-king, being subordinate to the 
Iroquois confederacy. The chief was absent at this time, as 
were most of his people, it being the hunting season. George 
Croghan, the envoy from Pennsylvania, with Montour his 
interpreter, had passed through Logstown a week previously, 
on his way to the Twightwees and other tribes, on the Miami 
branch of the Ohio. Scarce any one was to be seen about 
the village but some of Croghan's rough people, whom he 
had left behind — " reprobate Indian traders," as Gist terms 
them. They regarded the latter with a jealous eye, suspect- 
ing him of some rivalship in trade, or designs on the Indian 
lands; and intimated significantly "that he would never go 
home safe." 

Gist knew the meaning of such hints from men of this 
stamp in the lawless depths of the wilderness ; but quieted 
their suspicions by letting them know that he was on public 
business, and on good terms with their great man, George 
Croghan, to whom he dispatched a letter. He took his de- 
parture from Logstown, however, as soon as possible, pre- 
ferring, as he said, the solitude of the wilderness to such 

At Beaver Creek, a few miles below the village, he left 
the river and struck into the interior of the present State of 
Ohio. Here he overtook George Croghan at Muskingum, 
a town of Wyandots and Mingoes. He had ordered all the 
traders in his employ, who were scattered among the Indian 
villages, to rally at this town, where he had hoisted the En- 

* * * D— Vol. XII. 

74 U/or^8 of U/a8l?ir)$tor) Iruipo; 

glish flag over his residence and over that of the sachem. 
This was in consequence of the hostility of the French, who 
had recently captured, in the neighborhood, three white men 
in the employ of Frazier, an Indian trader, and had carried 
them away prisoners to Canada. 

Gist was well received by the people of Muskingum. 
They were indignant at the French violation of their terri- 
tories, and the capture of their "English brothers.' ' They 
had not forgotten the conduct of Celeron de Bienville in the 
previous year, and the mysterious plates which he had nailed 
against trees and sunk in the ground. "If the French claim 
the rivers which run into the lakes," said they, "those which 
run into the Ohio belong to us and to our brothers the En- 
glish.' ■ And they were anxious that Gist should settle 
among them, and build a fort for their mutual defense. 

A council of the nation was now held, in which Gist in- 
vited them, in the name of the Governor of Virginia, to visit 
that province, where a large present of goods awaited them, 
sent by their father, the great king, over the water to his 
Ohio children. The invitation was graciously received, but 
no answer could be given until a grand council of the west- 
ern tribes had been held, which was to take place at Logs- 
town in the ensuing spring. 

Similar results attended visits made b}^ Gist and Croghan 
to the Delawares and the Shawnees at their villages about 
the Scioto River; all promised to be at the gathering in 
Logstown. From the Shawnee village, near the mouth of 
the Scioto, the two emissaries shaped their course north two 
hundred miles, crossed the Great Moneami, or Miami River, 
on a raft, swimming their horses; and on the 17th of Febru- 
ary arrived at the Indian town of Piqua. 

These journeyings had carried Gist about a wide extent 

Cife of U/asl?ii}$toi> 75 

of country beyond the Ohio. It was rich and level, watered 
with streams and rivulets, and clad with noble forests of 
hickory, walnut, ash, poplar, sugar-maple, and wild cherry 
trees. Occasionally there were spacious plains covered with 
wild rye ; natural meadows with blue grass and clover ; and 
buffaloes thirty and forty at a time grazing on them as in 
a cultivated pasture. Deer, elk, and wild turkeys abounded. 
"Nothing is wanted but cultivation," said Gist, "to make 
this a most delightful country. ' ' Cultivation has since proved 
the truth of his words. The country thus described is the 
present State of Ohio. 

Piqua, where Gist and Croghan had arrived, was the 
principal town of the Twightwees or Miamis; the most 
powerful confederacy of the West, combining four tribes, 
and extending its influence even beyond the Mississippi. A 
king or sachem of one or other of the different tribes presided 
over the whole. The head chief at present was the king of 
the Piankeshas. 

At this town Croghan formed a treaty of alliance in the 
name of the Governor of Pennsylvania with two of the 
Miami tribes. And Gist was promised by the king of 
the Piankeshas that the chiefs of the various tribes would 
attend the meeting at Logstown to make a treaty with 

In the height of these demonstrations of friendship, two 
Ottawas entered the council-house, announcing themselves 
as envoys from the French governor of Canada to seek a 
renewal of ancient alliance. They were received with all 
due ceremonial; for none are more ceremonious than the 
Indians. The French colors were set up beside the English, 
and the embassadors opened their mission. "Your father, 
the French king," said they, "remembering his children on 

76 U/or^s of U/asfriD^tor; Irvfpo; 

the Ohio, has sent them these two kegs of niilk"; here, with 
great solemnity, they deposited two kegs of brandy — "and 
this tobacco''; here they deposited a roll ten pounds in 
weight. "He has made a clean road for you to come and 
see him and his officers ; and urges you to come, assuring 
you that all past differences will be forgotten." 

The Piankesha chief replied in the same figurative style. 
"It is true our father has sent for us several times, and has 
said the road was clear ; but I understand it is not clear — 
it is foul and bloody, and the French have made it so. We 
have cleared a road for our brothers, the English ; the French 
have made it bad, and have taken some of our brothers pris- 
oners. This we consider as done to ourselves. ' ' So saying 
he turned his back upon the embassadors and stalked out of 
the council-house. 

In the end the embassadors were assured that the tribes 
of the Ohio and the Six Nations were hand in hand with 
their brothers, the English ; and should war ensue with the 
French, they were ready to meet it. 

So the French colors were taken down; the "kegs of 
milk" and roll of tobacco were rejected; the grand council 
broke up in a war-dance, and the embassadors departed, 
weeping and howling, and predicting ruin to the Miamis. 

When Gist returned to the Shawnee town, near the mouth 
of the Scioto, and reported to his Indian friends there the 
alliance he had formed with the Miami confederacy, there 
was great feasting and speech-making, and firing of guns. 
He had now happily accomplished the chief object of his 
mission — nothing remained but to descend the Ohio to the 
Great Falls. This, however, he was cautioned not to do. 
A large party of Indians, allies of the French, were hunting 
in that neighborhood, who might kill or capture him. He 

Cife of U/asl?fi?<$toi) 77 

crossed the river attended only by a lad as a traveling com- 
panion and aid, and proceeded cautiously down the east side 
until within fifteen miles of the Falls. Here he came upon 
traps newly set, and Indian footprints not a day old ; and 
heard the distant report of guns. The story of Indian hunt- 
ers then was true. He was in a dangerous neighborhood. 
The savages might come upon the tracks of the horses, or 
hear the bells put about their necks, when turned loose in 
the wilderness to graze. 

Abandoning all idea, therefore, of visiting the Falls, and 
contenting himself with the information concerning them 
which he had received from others, he shaped his course on 
the 18th of March for the Cuttawa, or Kentucky Eiver. 
From the top of a mountain in the vicinity he had a view 
to the southwest as far as the eye could reach, over a vast 
woodland country in the fresh garniture of spring, and 
watered by abundant streams ; but as yet only the hunting 
ground of savage tribes, and the scene of their sanguinary 
combats. In a word, Kentucky lay spread out before him 
in all its wild magnificence; long before it was beheld by 
Daniel Boone. 

For six weeks was this hardy pioneer making his toilful 
way up the valley of the Cuttawa, or Kentucky River, to 
the banks of the Blue Stone; often checked by precipices, 
and obliged to seek fords at the heads of tributary streams; 
and happy when he could find a buffalo path broken through 
the tangled forests, or worn into the everlasting rocks. 

On the 1st of May he climbed a rock sixty feet high, 
crowning a lofty mountain, and had a distant view of the 
Great Kanawha, breaking its way through a vast sierra; 
crossing that river on a raft of his own construction, he had 
many more weary days before him, before he reached his 

18 U/orl^s of U/asl7n?$toi) Irvii}$ 

frontier abode on the banks of the Yadkin. He arrived 
there in the latter part of May, but there was no one to 
welcome the wanderer home. There had been an Indian 
massacre in the neighborhood, and he found his house silent 
and deserted. His heart sank within him, until an old man 
whom he met near the place assured him his family were 
safe, having fled for refuge to a settlement thirty-five miles 
off, on the banks of the Roanoke. There he joined them on 
the following day. 

While Gist had been making his painful way homeward, 
the two Ottawa embassadors had returned to Fort Sandusky, 
bringing word to the French that their flag had been struck 
in the council-house at Piqua, and their friendship rejected, 
and their hospitality defied by the Miamis. They informed 
them also of the gathering of the tribes that was to take 
place at Logstown, to conclude a treaty with the Virginians. 

It was a great object with the French to prevent this 
treaty, and to spirit up the Ohio Indians against the English. 
This they hoped to effect through the agency of one Captain 
Joncaire, a veteran diplomatist of the wilderness, whose 
character and story deserve a passing notice. 

He had been taken prisoner when quite young, by the 
Iroquois, and adopted into one of their tribes. This was 
the making of his fortune. He had grown up among them, 
acquired their language, adapted himself to their habits, and 
*ras considered by them as one of themselves. On returning 
to civilized life he became a prime instrument in the hands 
of the Canadian government, for managing and cajoling the 
Indians. Sometimes he was an embassador to the Iroquois ; 
sometimes a mediator between the jarring tribes; sometimes 
a leader of their warriors when employed by the French. 
When in 1728 the Delawares and Shawnees migrated to the 

Cife of U/a8^ir><$toi> 79 

banks of the Ohio, Joncaire was the agent who followed 
them, and prevailed on them to consider themselves under 
French protection. When the French wanted to get a com- 
manding site for a post on the Iroquois lands, near Niagara, 
Joncaire was the man to manage it. He craved a situation 
where he might put up a wigwam, and dwell among his 
Iroquois brethren. It was granted, of course, "for was he 
not a son of the tribe — was he not one of themselves?'' By 
degrees his wigwam grew into an important trading post; 
ultimately it became Fort Niagara. Years and years had 
elapsed ; he had grown gray in Indian diplomacy, and was 
now sent once more to maintain French sovereignty over the 
valley of the Ohio. 

He appeared at Logstown accompanied by another 
Frenchman, and forty Iroquois warriors. He found an 
assemblage of the western tribes, feasting and rejoicing, and 
firing of guns, for George Croghan and Montour the inter- 
preter were there, and had been distributing presents on 
behalf of the Governor of Pennsylvania. 

Joncaire was said to have the wit of a Frenchman and 
the eloquence of an Iroquois. He made an animated speech 
to the chiefs in their own tongue, the gist of which was that 
their father Onontio (that is to say, the Governor of Canada) 
desired his children of the Ohio to turn away the Indian 
traders, and never to deal with them again on pain of his 
displeasure ; so saying, he laid down a wampum belt of un- 
common size, by way of emphasis to his message. 

For once his eloquence was of no avail ; a chief rose in- 
dignantly, shook his finger in his face, and stamping on the 
ground, "This is our land," said he. "What right has 
Onontio here? The English are our brothers. They shall 
live among us as long as one of us is alive. We will trade 

80 U/or^s of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Iruir?<$ 

with them, and not with you"! and so saying he rejected 
the belt of wampum. 

Joncaire returned to an advanced post recently estab- 
lished on the upper part of the river, whence he wrote to the 
Governor of Pennsylvania: "The Marquis de la Jon quiere, 
Governor of New France, having ordered me to watch that 
the English make no treaty in the Ohio country, I have sig- 
nified to the traders of your government to retire. You are 
not ignorant that all these lands belong to the king of France, 
and that the English have no right to trade in them." He 
concluded by reiterating the threat made two years previ- 
ously by Celeron de Bienville against all intruding fur traders. 

In the meantime, in the face of all these protests and 
menaces, Mr. Gist, under sanction of the Virginia Legisla- 
ture, proceeded in the same year to survey the lands within 
the grant of the Ohio Company, lying on the south side of 
the Ohio River, as far down as the Great Kanawha. An old 
Delaware sachem, meeting him while thus employed, pro- 
pounded a somewhat puzzling question. "The French,' ■ 
said he, "claim all the land on one side of the Ohio, the 
English claim all the land on the other side — now where 
does the Indians' land lie?" 

Poor savages! Between their "fathers," the French, 
and their "brothers," the English, they were in a fair 
way of being most lovingly shared out of the whole 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor> 81 


Preparations for Hostilities — Washington appointed District Adju- 
tant-General — Mount Vernon a School of Arms — Adjutant 
Muse a veteran Campaigner — Jacob Van Braam a Master of 
Fence — 111 Health of Washington's brother Lawrence — Voyage 
with him to the West Indies — Scenes at Barbadoes — Tropical 
Fruits — Beefsteak and Tripe Club — Return Home of Washing- 
ton — Death of Lawrence 

The French now prepared for hostile contingencies. They 
launched an armed vessel of unusual size on Lake Ontario; 
fortified their trading houses at Niagara; strengthened their 
outposts, and advanced others on the upper waters of the 
Ohio. A stir of warlike preparation was likewise to be ob- 
served among the British colonies. It was evident that the 
adverse claims to the disputed territory, if pushed home, 
could only be settled by the stern arbitrament of the sword. 

In Virginia, especially, the war spirit was manifest. The 
province was divided into military districts, each having an 
adjutant-general, with the rank of major, and the pay of 
one hundred and fifty pounds a year, whose duty was to 
attend to the organization and equipment of the militia. 

Such an appointment was sought by Lawrence Washing- 
ton for his brother George. It shows what must have been 
the maturity of mind of the latter and the confidence inspired 
by his judicious conduct and aptness for business, that the 
post should not only be sought for him, but readily obtained, 
though he was yet but nineteen years of age. He proved 
himself worthy of the appointment. 

82 U/orl^s of Wastyr)QtOT) Irvii>$ 

He now set about preparing himself, with his usual 
method and assiduity, for his new duties. Virginia had 
among its floating population some military relics of the late 
Spanish war. Among these there was a certain Adjutant 
Muse, a Westmoreland volunteer, who had served with Law- 
rence Washington in the campaigns in the West Indies, and 
had been with him in the attack on Carthagena. He now 
undertook to instruct his brother George in the art of war; 
lent him treatises on military tactics; put him through the 
manual exercise, and gave him some idea of evolutions in 
the field. Another of Lawrence's campaigning comrades 
was Jacob Van Braam, a Dutchman by birth — a soldier of 
fortune of the Dalgetty order — who had been in the British 
army, but was now out of service, and, professing to be a 
complete master of fence, recruited his slender purse, in this 
time of military excitement, by giving the Virginian youth 
lessons in the sword exercise. 

Under the instructions of these veterans, Mount Vernon, 
from being a quiet rural retreat, where Washington three 
years previously had indited love ditties to his "lowland 
beauty," was suddenly transformed into a school of arms, 
as he practiced the manual exercise with Adjutant Muse or 
took lessons on the broadsword from Van Braam. 

His martial studies, however, were interrupted for a time 
by the critical state of his brother's health. The constitu- 
tion of Lawrence had always been delicate, and he had been 
obliged repeatedly to travel for a change of air. There were 
now pulmonary symptoms of a threatening nature, and by 
advice of his physicians he determined to pass a winter in 
the West Indies, taking with him his favorite brother George 
as a companion. 

They accordingly sailed for Barbadoes on the 28th of 

Cife of U/asl?ip^toi> 83 

September, 1751. George kept a journal of the voyage with 
logbook brevity, recording the wind and weather, but no 
events worth citation. They landed at Barbadoes on the 3d 
of November. The resident physician of the place gave a 
favorable report of Lawrence's case, and held out hopes of 
a cure. The brothers were delighted with the aspect of the 
country, as they drove out in the cool of the evening and be- 
held on all sides fields, of sugar-cane and Indian corn, and 
groves of tropical trees in full fruit and foliage. 

They took up their abode at a house pleasantly situated 
about a mile from town, commanding an extensive prospect 
of sea and land, including Carlyle Bay and its shipping, and 
belonging to Captain Crofton, commander of James Fort. 

Barbadoes had its theater, at which Washington wit- 
nessed for the first time a dramatic representation, a species 
of amusement of which he afterward became fond. It was 
in the present instance the doleful tragedy of George Barn- 
well. "The character of Barnwell and several others/ ' notes 
he in his journal, "were said to be well performed. There 
was music adapted and regularly conducted. " A safe but 
abstemious criticism. 

Among the hospitalities of the place the brothers were 
invited to the house of a Judge Maynards, to dine with an 
association of the first people of the place, who met at each 
other's house alternately every Saturday, under the incon- 
testably English title of "The Beefsteak and Tripe Club." 
"Washington notes with admiration the profusion of tropical 
fruits with which the table was loaded, "the granadilla, sapa- 
della, pomegranate, sweet orange, water-lemon, forbidden 
fruit and guava." The homely, prosaic beefsteak and tripe 
must have contrasted strangely, though sturdily, with these 
magnificent poetical fruits of the tropics. But John Bull is 

84 U/or^s of ll/as^ir^tor; Jrvii}^ 

faithful to his native habits and native dishes, whatever may 
be the country or clime, and would set up a chop-house at 
the very gates of paradise. 

The brothers had scarcely been a fortnight at the island 
when George was taken down by a severe attack of small- 
pox. Skillful medical treatment, with the kind attention of 
friends, and especially of his brother, restored him to health 
in about three weeks ; but his face always remained slightly 

After his recoverey he made excursions about the island, 
noticing its soil, productions, fortifications, public works and 
the manners of its inhabitants. "While admiring the produc- 
tiveness of the sugar plantations, he was shocked at the 
spendthrift habits of the planters, and their utter want of 

"How wonderful," writes he, "that such people should 
be in debt, and not be able to indulge themselves in all the 
luxuries, as well as the necessaries of life. Yet so it hap- 
pens. Estates are often alienated for debts. How persons 
coming to estates of two, three and four hundred acres can 
want, is to me most wonderful." How much does this won- 
der speak for his own scrupulous principle of always living 
within compass. 

The residence at Barbadoes failed to have the anticipated 
effect on the health of Lawrence, and he determined to seek 
the sweet climate of Bermuda in the spring. He felt the ab- 
sence from his wife, and it was arranged that George should 
return to Virginia and bring her out to meet him at that isl- 
and. Accordingly, on the 22d of December, George set sail 
in the "Industry," bound to Virginia, where he arrived on 
the 1st of February, 1752, after five weeks of stormy winter 

Cife of U/asfyir^ton 85 

Lawrence remained through the winter at Barbadoes; 
birt the very mildness of the climate relaxed and enervated 
him. He felt the want of the bracing winter weather to 
which he had been accustomed. Even the invariable beauty 
of the climate, the perpetual summer, wearied the restless 
invalid. "This is the finest island of the West Indies/' said 
he; "but I own no place can please me without a change of 
seasons. "We soon tire of the same prospect." A consola- 
tory truth for the inhabitants of more capricious climes. 

Still some of the worst symptoms of his disorder had dis- 
appeared, and he seemed to be slowly recovering; but the 
nervous restlessness and desire of change, often incidental to 
his malady, had taken hold of him, and early in March he 
hastened to Bermuda. He had come too soon. The keen 
air of early spring brought on an aggravated return of his 
worst symptoms. "I have now got to my last refuge," 
writes he to a friend, "where I must receive my final sen- 
tence, which at present Dr. Forbes will not pronounce. He 
leaves me, however, I think, like a criminal condemned, 
though not without hopes of reprieve. But this I am to ob- 
tain by meritoriously abstaining from flesh of every sort, all 
strong liquors, and by riding as much as I can bear. These 
are the only terms on which I am to hope for life." 

He was now afflicted with painful indecision, and his let- 
ters perplexed his family, leaving them uncertain as to his 
movements and at a loss how to act. At one time he talked 
of remaining a year at Bermuda, and wrote to his wife to 
come out with George and rejoin him there; but the very 
same letter shows his irresolution and uncertainty, for he 
leaves her coming to the decision of herself and friends. As 
to his own movements, he says: "Six weeks will determine 
me what to resolve on. Forbes advises the south of France, 

86 U/or^s of ll/as^ir^tor) IruiQ$ 

or else Barbadoes." The very next letter, written shortly 
afterward in a moment of despondency, talks of the possibil- 
ity of " hurrying home to his grave !" 

The last was no empty foreboding. He did indeed hasten 
back, and just reached Mount Vernon in time to die under 
his own roof, surrounded by his family and friends, and at- 
tended in his last moments by that brother on whose manly 
affection his heart seemed to repose. His death took place 
on the 26th July, 1752, when but thirty-four years of age. 
He was a noble-spirited, pure-minded, accomplished gentle- 
man, honored by the public and beloved by his friends. The 
paternal care ever manifested by him for his youthful brother 
George, and the influence his own character and conduct 
must have had upon him in his ductile years, should link 
their memories together in history and endear the name of 
Lawrence Washington to every American. 

Lawrence left a wife and an infant daughter to inherit 
his ample estates. In case his daughter should die without 
issue, the estate of Mount Vernon, and other lands specified 
in his will, were to be enjoyed by her mother during her life- 
time, and at her death to be inherited by his brother George. 
The latter was appointed one of the executors of the will ; 
but such was the implicit confidence reposed in his judgment 
and integrity that, although he was but twenty years of age, 
the management of the affairs of the deceased was soon de- 
volved upon him almost entirely. It is needless to say that 
they were managed with consummate skill and scrupulous 

Cife of U/as^ip^toi) 87 


Council of the Ohio Tribes at Logstown — Treaty with the English- 
Gist's Settlement — Speeches of the Half-king and the French 
Commandant — French Aggressions — The Ruins of Piqua — 
Washington sent on a Mission to the French Commander — 
Jacob Van Braam, his Interpreter — Christopher Gist, his 
Guide — Halt at the Confluence of the Monongahela and Alle- 
ghany — Projected Fort — Shingis, a Delaware Sachem — Logs- 
town — The Half-king — Indian Councils — Indian Diplomacy — 
Rumors concerning Joncaire — Indian Escorts — The Half-king, 
Jeskakake, and White Thunder 

The meeting of the Ohio tribes, Delawares, Shawnees, 
and Mingoes, to form a treaty of alliance with Virginia, took 
place at Logstown, at the appointed time. The chiefs of the 
Six Nations declined to attend. "It is not our custom," said 
they proudly, "to meet to treat of affairs in the woods and 
weeds. If the Governor of Virginia wants to speak with us, 
and deliver us a present from our father (the king), we will 
meet him at Albany, where we expect the Governor of New 
York will be present." * 

At Logstown, Colonel Fry and two other commission- 
ers from Virginia concluded a treaty with the tribes above 
named; by which the latter engaged not to molest any En- 
glish settlers south of the Ohio. Tanacharisson, the half- 
king, now advised that his brothers of Virginia should build 
a strong house at the fork of the Monongahela, to resist the 

* Letter of Col. Johnson to Gov. Clinton. — Doc. Hist. 
N. Y., ii. 624. 

88 U/or^s of U/asl?in$toi) Iruir>^ 

designs of the French. Mr. Gist was accordingly instructed 
to lay out a town and build a fort at Chartier's Creek, on 
the east side of the Ohio, a little below the site of the present 
city of Pittsburg. He commenced a settlement, also, in a 
valley just beyond Laurel Hill, not far from the Youghiog- 
eny, and prevailed on eleven families to join him. The Ohio 
Company, about the same time, established a trading post, 
well stocked with English goods ; at Wills' Creek (now the 
town of Cumberland). 

The Ohio tribes were greatly incensed at the aggressions 
of the French, who were erecting posts within their terri- 
tories, and sent deputations to remonstrate, but without 
effect. The half -king, as chief of the western tribes, re- 
paired to the French post on Lake Erie, where he made his 
complaint in person. 

"Fathers," said he, "you are the disturbers of this land 
by building towns, and taking the country from us by fraud 
and force. We kindled a fire a long time ago at Montreal, 
where we desired you to stay and not to come and intrude 
upon our land. I now advise you to return to that place, for 
this land is ours. 

"If you had come in a peaceable manner, like our broth- 
ers the English, we should have traded with you as we do 
with them; but that you should come and build houses on 
our land, and take it by force, is what we cannot submit to. 
Both you and the English are white. We live in a country 
between you both ; the land belongs to neither of you. The 
Great Being allotted it to us as a residence. So, fathers, I 
desire you, as I have desired our brothers the English, to 
withdraw, for I will keep you both at arms-length. Which- 
ever most regards this request, that side will we stand by 
and consider friends. Our brothers the English have heard 

Cife of U/asI?io<$tor> 89 

this, and I now come to tell it to you, for I am not afraid to 
order you off this land." 

' ' Child," replied the French commandant, "you talk fool- 
ishly. You say this land belongs to you; there is not the 
black of my nail yours. It is my land, and I will have it, 
let who will stand up against me. I am not afraid of flies 
and mosquitoes, for as such I consider the Indians. I tell 
you that down the river I will go, and build upon it. If it 
were blocked up I have forces sufficient to burst it open and 
trample down all who oppose me. My force is as the sand 
upon the seashore. Therefore here is your wampum ; I fling 
it at you." 

Tanacharisson returned, wounded at heart, both by the 
language and the haughty manner of the French comman- 
dant. He saw the ruin impending over his race, but looked 
with hope and trust to the English as the power least dis- 
posed to wrong the redman. 

French influence was successful in other quarters. Some 
of the Indians who had been friendly to the English showed 
signs of alienation. Others menaced hostilities. There were 
reports that the French were ascending the Mississippi from 
Louisiana. France, it was said, intended to connect Louisi- 
ana and Canada by a chain of military posts, and hem the 
English within the Alleghany Mountains. 

The Ohio Company complained loudly to the Lieutenant- 
governor of Virginia, the Hon. Robert Dinwiddie, of the 
hostile conduct of the French and their Indian allies. They 
found in Dinwiddie a ready listener ; he was a stockholder 
in the company. 

A commissioner, Captain William Trent, was sent to ex- 
postulate with the French commander on the Ohio for his 
aggressions on the territory of his Britannic majesty; he 

90 ll/orl^s of U/a8t?ir>$toi> Irvir>$ 

bore presents also of guns, powder, shot, and clothing for 
the friendly Indians. 

Trent was not a man of the true spirit for a mission to 
the frontier. He stopped a short time at Logstown, though 
the French were one hundred and fifty miles further up the 
river, and directed his course to Piqua, the great town of 
the Twightwees, where Gist and Croghan had been so well 
received by the Miamis, and the French flag struck in the 
council-house. All now was reversed. The place had been 
attacked by the French and Indians; the Miamis defeated 
with great loss; the English traders taken prisoners; the 
Piankesha chief, who had so proudly turned his back upon 
the Ottawa embassadors, had been sacrificed by the hostile 
savages, and the French flag hoisted in triumph on the ruins 
of the town. The whole aspect of affairs was so threatening 
on the frontier that Trent lost heart, and returned home 
without accomplishing his errand. 

Governor Dinwiddie now looked round for a person more 
fitted to fulfill a mission which required physical strength 
and moral energy; a courage to cope with savages, and a 
sagacity to negotiate with white men. Washington was 
pointed out as possessed of those requisites. It is true he 
was not yet twenty-two years of age, but public confidence 
In his judgment and abilities had been manifested a second 
<ime, by renewing his appointment of adjutant-general, and 
assigning him the northern division. He was acquainted, 
too, with the matters in litigation, having been in the bosom 
councils of his deceased brother. His woodland experience 
fitted him for an expedition through the wilderness, and his 
great discretion and self-command for a negotiation with 
wily commanders and fickle savages. He was accordingly 
chosen for the expedition. 

Cife of U/asl?i9$toi) 91 

By his letter of instructions he was directed to repair to 
Logstown and hold a communication with Tanacharisson, 
Monacatoocha, alias Scarooyadi, the next in command, and 
the other sachems of the mixed tribes friendly to the English ; 
inform them of the purport of his errand, and request an 
escort to the headquarters of the French commander. To 
that commander he was to deliver his credentials, and the 
letter of Governor Dinwiddie, and demand an answer in 
the name of his Britannic majesty; but not to wait for it 
beyond a week. On receiving it, he was to request a suffi- 
cient escort to protect him on his return. 

He was, moreover, to acquaint himself with the numbers 
and force of the French stationed on the Ohio, and in its 
vicinity; their capability of being re enforced from Canada; 
the forts they had erected ; where situated, how garrisoned ; 
the object of their advancing into those parts, and how they 
were likely to be supported. 

Washington set off from Williamsburg on the 30th of 
October (1753), the very day on which he received his cre- 
dentials. At Fredericksburg he engaged his old " master of 
fence," Jacob Van Braam, to accompany him as interpreter; 
though it would appear, from subsequent circumstances, that 
the veteran swordsman was but indifferently versed in French 
or English. 

Having provided himself at Alexandria with necessaries 
for the journey, he proceeded to Winchester, then on the 
frontier, where he procured horses, tents, and other travel- 
ing equipments, and then pushed on by a road newly opened 
to Wills' Creek (town of Cumberland), where he arrived on 
the 14th of November. 

Here he met with Mr. Gist, the intrepid pioneer, who 
had explored the Ohio in the employ of the company, and 

92 U/or^s of U/as^iQ^top Irvii}<$ 

whom he engaged to accompany and pilot him in the present 
expedition. He secured the services also of one John David- 
son as Indian interpreter, and of four frontiersmen, two of 
whom were Indian traders. With this little band, and his 
swordsman and interpreter, Jacob Van Braam, he set forth 
on the 15th of November through a wild country, rendered 
almost impassable by recent storms of rain and snow. 

At the mouth of Turtle Creek, on the Monongahela, 
he found John Frazier, the Indian trader, some of whose 
people, as heretofore stated, had been sent off prisoners to 
Canada. Frazier himself had recently been ejected by the 
French from the Indian village of Venango, where he had 
a gunsmith's establishment. According to his account the 
French general who had commanded on this frontier was 
dead, and the greater part of the forces were retired into 
winter quarters. 

As the rivers were all swollen so that the horses had to 
swim them, Washington sent all the baggage down the Mo- 
nongahela in a canoe under care of two of the men, who had 
orders to meet him at the confluence of that river with the 
Alleghany, where their united waters form the Ohio. 

"As I got down before the canoe," writes he in his jour- 
nal, "I spent some time in viewing the rivers, and the land 
at the Fork, which I think extremely well situated for a 
fort, as it has the absolute command of both rivers. The 
land at the point is twenty or twenty-five feet above the 
common surface of the water, and a considerable bottom of 
flat, well-timbered land all around it, very convenient for 
building. The rivers are each a quarter of a mile or 
more across, and run here very nearly at right angles; 
Alleghany bearing northeast, and Monongahela south- 
east. The former of these two is a very rapid and swift- 

Clfe of UYasfyin^toi) 93 

running water, the other deep and still, without any per- 
ceptible fall." The Ohio Company had intended to build 
a fort about two miles from this place, on the southeast side 
of the river ; but Washington gave the fork the decided pref- 
erence. French engineers of experience proved the accuracy 
of his military eye, by subsequently choosing it for the site 
of Fort Duquesne, noted in frontier history. 

In this neighborhood lived Shingis, the king or chief 
sachem of the Dela wares. "Washington visited him at his 
village, to invite him to the council at Logstown. He was 
one of the greatest warriors of his tribe, and subsequently 
took up the hatchet at various times against the English, 
though now he seemed favorably disposed, and readily ac- 
cepted the invitation. 

They arrived at Logstown after sunset on the 24th of 
November. The half -king was absent at his hunting-lodge 
on Beaver Creek, about fifteen miles distant; but "Washing- 
ton had runners sent out to invite him and all the other 
chiefs to a grand talk on the following day. 

In the morning four French deserters came into the vil- 
lage. They had deserted from a company of one hundred 
men, sent up from New Orleans with eight canoes laden 
with provisions. Washington drew from them an account 
of the French force at New Orleans, and of the forts along 
the Mississippi and at the mouth of the Wabash, by which 
they kept up a communication with the lakes ; all which he 
carefully noted down. The deserters were on their way to 
Philadelphia, conducted by a Pennsylvania trader. 

About three o'clock the half -king arrived. Washington 
had a private conversation with him in his tent, through 
Davidson, the interpreter. He found him intelligent, pa- 
triotic, and proudly tenacious of his territorial rights. We 

94 U/orl^s of Ufas\)iT)QtOT) Iruir?^ 

have already cited from Washington's papers the account 
given by this chief in this conversation of his interview with 
the late French commander. He stated, moreover, that the 
French had built two forts, differing in size, but on the same 
model, a plan of which he gave, of his own drawing. The 
largest was on Lake Erie, the other on French Creek, fifteen 
miles apart, with a wagon road between them. The nearest 
and levelest way to them was now impassable, lying through 
large and miry savannas ; they would have, therefore, to go 
by Venango, and it would take five or six sleeps (or days) 
of good traveling to reach the nearest fort. 

On the following morning at nine o'clock, the chiefs as- 
sembled at the council-house, where Washington, according 
to his instructions, informed them that he was sent by their 
brother, the Governor of Virginia, to deliver to the French 
commandant a letter of great importance, both to their 
brothers the English and to themselves; and that he was 
to ask their advice and assistance, and some of their young 
men to accompany and provide for him on the way, and be 
his safeguard against the "French Indians" who had taken 
up the hatchet. He concluded by presenting the indispen- 
sable document in Indian diplomacy, a string of wampum. 

The chiefs, according to etiquette, sat for some moments 
silent after he had concluded, as if ruminating on what had 
been said, or to give him time for further remark. 

The half -king then rose and spoke in behalf of the tribes, 
assuring him that they considered the English and themselves 
brothers, and one people ; and that they intended to return 
the French the "speech-belts," or wampums, which the latter 
had sent them. This, in Indian diplomacy, is a renunciation 
of all friendly relations. An escort would be furnished to 
Washington composed of Mingoes, Shannoahs, and Dela- 

Cife of U/asfyip^tor; 95 

wares, in token of the love and loyalty of those several 
tribes; but three days would be required to prepare for the 

Washington remonstrated against such a delay ; but was 
informed that an affair of such moment, where three speech- 
belts were to be given up, was not to be entered into without 
due consideration. Besides, the young men who were to 
form the escort were absent hunting, and the half king could 
not suffer the party to go without sufficient protection. His 
own French speech-belt, also, was at his hunting lodge, 
whither he must go in quest of it. Moreover, the Shannoah 
chiefs were yet absent and must be waited for. In short, 
"Washington had his first lesson in Indian diplomacy, which 
for punctilio, ceremonial, and secret maneuvering, is equal 
at least to that of civilized life. He soon found that to urge 
a more speedy departure would be offensive to Indian dignity 
and decorum, so he was fain to await the gathering together 
of the different chiefs with their speech-belts. 

In fact there was some reason for all this caution. Tid- 
ings had reached the sachems that Captain Joncaire had 
called a meeting at Yenango, of the Mingoes, Delawares, 
and other tribes, and made them a speech, informing them 
that the French, for the present, had gone into winter quar- 
ters, but intended to descend the river in great force and 
fight the English in the spring. He had advised them, there- 
fore, to stand aloof, for, should they interfere, the French 
and English would join, cut them all off, and divide their 
land between them. 

With these rumors preying on their minds, the half -king 
and three other chiefs waited on Washington in his tent in 
the evening, and after representing that they had complied 
with all the requisitions of the Governor of Virginia, en- 

96 U/orKs of U/a8l?ip$toi) Irvipo; 

deavored to draw from the youthful embassador the true 
purport of his mission to the French commandant. Wash- 
ington had anticipated an inquiry of the kind, knowing how 
natural it was that these poor people should regard, with 
anxiety and distrust, every movement of two formidable 
powers thus pressing upon them from opposite sides; he 
managed, however, to answer them in such a manner as 
to allay their solicitude without transcending the bounds 
of diplomatic secrecy. 

After a day or two more of delay and further consulta- 
tions in the council-house, the chiefs determined that but 
three of their number should accompany the mission, as a 
greater number might awaken the suspicions of the French. 
Accordingly, on the 30th of November, "Washington set out 
for the French post, having his usual party augmented by 
an Indian hunter, and being accompanied by the half-king, 
an old Shannoah sachem named Jeskakake, and another 
chief, sometimes called Belt of Wampum, from being the 
keeper of the speech-belts, but generally bearing the sound- 
ing appellation of White Thunder. 

Cife of U/a8l?ii}$toQ 97 


Arrival at Venango— Captain Jonoaire — Frontier Revelry — Discus- 
sions over the Bottle — The Old Diplomatist and the Young — 
The Half -king, Jeskakake, and White Thunder staggered — 
The Speech-belt — Departure — La Force, the wily Commis- 
sary — Fort at French Creek—The Chevalier Legardeur de St. 
Pierre, Knight of St. Louis — Captain Reparti — Transactions at 
the Fort — Attempts to seduce the Sachems — Mischief brewing 
on the Frontier — Difficulties and Delays in Parting — Descent of 
French Creek — Arrival at Venango 

Although the distance to Venango, by the route taken, 
was not above seventy miles, yet such was the inclemency 
of the weather and the difficulty of traveling, that Wash- 
ington and his party did not arrive there until the 4th of 
December. The French colors were flying at a house 
whence John Frazier, the English trader, had been driven. 
Washington repaired thither, and inquired of three French 
officers whom he saw there where the commandant resided. 
One of them promptly replied that he "had the command 
of the Ohio." It was, in fact, the redoubtable Captain 
Joncaire, the veteran intriguer of the frontier. On being 
apprised, however, of the nature of Washington's errand, he 
informed him that there was a general officer at the next 
fort, where he advised him to apply for an answer to the 
letter of which he was the bearer. 

In the meantime he invited Washington and his party to 
a supper at headquaretrs. It proved a jovial one, for Jon- 
caire appears to have been somewhat of a boon companion, 

* * * e— Vol. XII. 

98 U/orl^s of U/a8t?ir?$top Iruip^ 


and there is always ready though rough hospitality in the 

wilderness. It is true, Washington, for so young a man, 

may not have had the most convivial air, but there may 

have been a moist look of promise in the old soldier Van 


Joncaire and his brother officers pushed the bottle briskly. 
"The wine," says Washington, "as they dosed themselves 
pretty plentifully with it, soon banished the restraint which 
at first appeared in their conversation, and gave a license to 
their tongues to reveal their sentiments more freely. They 
told me that it was their absolute design to take possession 
of the Ohio, and by G — they would do it ; for that although 
they were sensible the English could raise two men for their 
one, yet they knew their motions were too slow and dilatory 
to prevent any undertaking. They pretend to have an un- 
doubted right to the river from a discovery made by one La 
Salle sixty years ago, and the rise of this expedition is to 
prevent our settling on the river or the waters of it, as they 
heard of some families moving out in order thereto." 

Washington retained his sobriety and his composure 
throughout all the rodomontade and bacchanalian outbreak 
of the mercurial Frenchmen: leaving the task of pledging 
them to his master of fence, Van Braam, who was not a 
man to flinch from potations. He took careful note, how- 
ever, of all their revelations, and collected a variety of in- 
formation concerning the French forces; how and where 
they were distributed ; the situations and distances of their 
forts, and their means and mode of obtaining supplies. If 
the veteran diplomatist of the wilderness had intended this 
revel for a snare, he was completely foiled by his youthful 

On the following day there was no traveling on account 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 99 

of excessive rain. Joncaire, in the meantime, having dis- 
covered that the half -king was with the mission, expressed 
his surprise that he had not accompanied it to his quarters 
on the preceding day. Washington, in truth, had feared 
to trust the sachem within the reach of the politic French- 
man. Nothing would do now but Joncaire must have the 
sachems at headquarters. Here his diplomacy was trium- 
phant. He received them with open arms. He was enrap- 
tured to see them. His Indian brothers! How could they 
be so near without coming to visit him? He made them 
presents; but, above all, plied them so potently with liquor 
that the poor half -king, Jeskakake, and White Thunder 
forgot all about their wrongs, their speeches, their speech- 
belts, and all the business they had come upon ; paid no heed 
to the repeated cautions of their English friends, and were 
soon in a complete state of frantic extravagance or drunken 

The next day the half-king made his appearance at 
Washington's tent, perfectly sober and very much crest- 
fallen. He declared, however, that he still intended to 
make his speech to the French, and offered to rehearse it 
on the spot; but Washington advised him not to waste his 
ammunition on inferior game like Joncaire and his com- 
rades, but to reserve it for the commandant. The sachem 
was not to be persuaded. Here, he said, was the place of 
the council fire, where they were accustomed to transact 
their business with the French ; and as to Joncaire, he had 
all the management of French affairs with the Indians. 

Washington was fain to attend the council fire and listen 
to the speech. It was much the same in purport as that 
which he had made to the French general, and he ended by 
offering to return the French speech-belt ; but this Joncaire 

100 U/orl^s of U/ast?ir?$tor) Iruii)^ 

refused to receive, telling him to carry it to the commander 
at the fort. 

All that day and the next was the party kept at Venango 
by the stratagems of Joncaire and his emissaries to detain 
and seduce the sachems. It was not until 12 o'clock od the 
7th of December that Washington was able to extricate them 
out of their clutches and commence his journey. 

A French commissary by the name of La Force, and 
three soldiers, set off in company with him. La Force went 
as if on ordinary business, but he proved one of the most 
active, daring and mischief-making of those anomalous 
agents employed by the French among the Indian tribes. 
It is probable that he was at the bottom of many of the per- 
plexities experienced by Washington at Venango, and now 
traveled with him for the prosecution of his wiles. He will 
be found, hereafter, acting a more prominent part, and 
ultimately reaping the fruit of his evil doings. 

After four days of weary travel through snow and rain, 
and mire and swamp, the party reached the fort. It was 
situated on a kind of island on the west fork of French 
Creek, about fifteen miles south of Lake Erie, and consisted 
of four houses, forming a hollow square, defended by bas- 
tions made of palisades twelve feet high, picketed, and 
pierced for cannon and small arms. Within the bastions 
were a guard-house, chapel, and other buildings, and outside 
were stables, a smith's forge, and log-houses covered with 
bark for the soldiers. 

On the death of the late general, the fort had remained 
in charge of one Captain Reparti until within a week past, 
when the Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre had arrived and 
taken command. 

The reception of Washington at the fort was very dif- 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 101 

ferent from the unceremonious one experienced at the out- 
post of Joncaire and his convivial messmates. When he 
presented himself at the gate, accompanied by his interpreter, 
Van Braam, he was met by the officer second in command 
and conducted in due military form to his superior, an 
ancient and silver-haired chevalier of the military order of 
St. Louis, courteous but ceremonious, mingling the polish 
of the French gentleman of the old school with the precis- 
ion of the soldier. 

Having announced his errand through his interpreter, 
Van Braam, Washington offered his credentials and the 
letter of Governor Dinwiddie, and was disposed to proceed 
at once to business with the prompt frankness of a young 
man unhackneyed in diplomacy. The chevalier, however, 
politely requested him to retain the documents in his posses- 
sion until his predecessor, Captain Reparti, should arrive, 
who was hourly expected from the next post. 

At two o'clock the captain arrived. The letter and its 
accompanying documents were then offered again, and re- 
ceived in due form, and the chevalier and his officers retired 
with them into a private apartment, where the captain, who 
understood a little English, officiated as translator. The 
translation being finished, Washington was requested to 
walk in and bring his translator, Van Braam, with him, 
to peruse and correct it, which he did. 

In this letter Dinwiddie complained of the intrusion of 
French forces into the Ohio country, erecting forts and 
making settlements in the western parts of the colony of 
Virginia, so notoriously known to be the property of the 
crown of Great Britain. He inquired by whose authority 
and instructions the French commander-general had marched 
this force from Canada and made this invasion, intimating 

102 U/orks of \JJast)ir)$tOT) Irvir>$ 

that his own action would be regulated by the answer he 
should receive and the tenor of the commission with which 
he was honored. At the same time he required of the com- 
mandant his peaceable departure, and that he would for- 
bear to prosecute a purpose "so interruptive of the harmony 
and good understanding which his majesty was desirous 
to continue and cultivate with the most Catholic king." 

The latter part of the letter related to the youthful envoy. 
"I persuade myself you will receive and entertain Major 
"Washington with the candor and politeness natural to your 
nation, and it will give me the greatest satisfaction if you 
can return him with an answer suitable to my wishes for a 
long and lasting peace between us." 

The two following days were consumed in councils of 
the chevalier and his officers over the letter and the neces- 
sary reply. Washington occupied himself in the meantime 
in observing and taking notes of the plan, dimensions and 
strength of the fort, and of everything about it. He gave 
orders to his people, also, to take an exact account of the 
canoes in readiness, and others in the process of construction, 
for the conveyance of troops down the river in the ensuing 

As the weather continued stormy, with much snow, and 
the horses were daily losing strength, he sent them down, 
unladen, to Venango, to await his return by water. In the 
meantime he discovered that busy intrigues were going on 
to induce the half-king and the other sachems to abandon 
him, and renounce all friendship with the English. Upon 
learning this, he urged the chiefs to deliver up their "speech- 
belts" immediately, as they had promised, thereby shaking 
off all dependence upon the French. They accordingly 
pressed for an audience that very evening. A private one 

Cife of U/asfar^tor; 103 

was at length granted them by the commander, in presence 
of one or two of his officers. The half-king reported the 
result of it to "Washington. The venerable but astute chev- 
alier cautiously evaded the acceptance of the proffered wam- 
pum, made many professions of love and friendship, and said 
he wished to live in peace and trade amicably with the tribes 
of the Ohio, in proof of which he would send down some 
goods immediately for them to Logstown. 

As Washington understood, privately, that an officer was 
to accompany the man employed to convey these goods, he 
suspected that the real design was to arrest and bring off 
all straggling English traders they might meet with. What 
strengthened this opinion was a frank avowal which had 
been made to him by the chevalier, that he had orders to 
capture every British subject who should attempt to trade 
upon the Ohio or its waters. 

Captain Reparti, also, in reply to his inquiry as to what 
had been done with two Pennsylvania traders, who had 
been taken with all their goods, informed him that they had 
been sent to Canada, but had since returned home. He 
had stated, furthermore, that during the time he held com- 
mand a white boy had been carried captive past the fort by 
a party of Indians, who had with them, also, two or three 
white men's scalps. 

All these circumstances showed him the mischief that 
was brewing in these parts, and the treachery and violence 
that pervaded the frontier ; and made him the more solicitous 
to accomplish his mission successfully, and conduct his little 
band in safety out of a wily neighborhood. 

On the evening of the 14th the Chevalier de St. Pierre 
delivered to Washington his sealed replv to the letter of 
Governor Dinwiddie. The purport of previous conversations 

104 U/or^8 of XUa&tyyQtOT) Irvir>$ 

with the chevalier, and the whole complexion of affairs on 
the frontier, left no doubt of the nature of that reply. 

The business of his mission being accomplished, Wash- 
ington prepared, on the loth, to return by water to Venango; 
but a secret influence was at work which retarded every 

"The commandant," writes he, "ordered a plentiful store 
of liquor and provisions to be put on board our canoes, and 
appeared to be extremely complaisant, though he was exert- 
ing every artifice which he could invent to set our Indians 
at variance with us, to prevent their going until after our 
departure; presents, rewards and everything which could 
be suggested by him or his officers. I cannot say that ever 
in my life I suffered so much anxiety as I did in this affair. 
I saw that every stratagem which the most fruitful brain 
could invent was practiced to win the half -king to their inter- 
ests, and that leaving him there was giving them the oppor- 
tunity they aimed at. I went to the half-king and pressed 
him in the strongest terms to go : he told me that the com- 
mandant would not discharge him until the morning. I 
then went to the commandant and desired him to do their 
business, and complained to him of ill-treatment; for, keep- 
ing them, as they were a part of my company, was detaining 
me. This he promised not to do, but to forward my journey 
as much as he could. He protested he did not keep them, 
but was ignorant of the cause of their stay ; though I soon 
found it out. He had promised them a present of guns if 
they would wait until the morning. As I was very much 
pressed by the Indians to wait this day for them, I con- 
sented, on the promise that nothing should hinder them 
in the morning." 

The next morning (16th) the French, in fulfillment of 

Cife of U/asl?ii?<$toiy 105 

their promise, had to give the present of guns. They then 
endeavored to detain the sachems with liquor, which at any 
other time might have prevailed ; but Washington reminded 
the half -king that his royal word was pledged to depart, 
and urged it upon him so closely, that, exerting unwonted 
resolution and self-denial, he turned his back upon the liquor 
and embarked. 

It was rough and laborious navigation. French Creek 
was swollen and turbulent, and full of floating ice. The 
frail canoes were several times in danger of being staved 
to pieces against rocks. Often the voyagers had to leap out 
and remain in the water half an hour at a time, drawing the 
canoes over shoals, and at one place to carry them a quarter 
of a mile across a neck of land, the river being completely 
dammed by ice. It was not until the 22d that they reached 

Here Washington was obliged, most unwillingly, to part 
company with the sachems. White Thunder had hurt him- 
self and was ill and unable to walk, and the others deter- 
mined to remain at Venango for a day or two and convey 
him down the river in a canoe. There was danger that the 
smooth-tongued and convivial Joncaire would avail himself 
of the interval to ply the poor monarchs of the woods with 
flattery and liquor. Washington endeavored to put the 
worthy half-king on his guard, knowing that he had once 
before shown himself but little proof against the seductions 
of the bottle. The sachem, however, desired him not to be 
concerned ; he knew the French too well for anything to 
engage him in their favor; nothing should shake his faith 
to his English brothers ; and it will be found that in these 
assurances he was sincere. 

106 Worlds of \lfas\)\r)$tOT) Jruin$ 


Return from Venango — A Tramp on Foot — Murdering Town — The 
Indian Guide — Treachery — An Anxious Night — Perils on the 
Alleghany River — Queen Aliquippa — The old "Watch-coat — 
Return across the Blue Ridge 

On the 25th of December, Washington and his little party 
set out by land from Venango on their route homeward. 
They had a long winter's journey before them, through a 
wilderness beset with dangers and difficulties. The pack- 
horses, laden with tents, baggage, and provisions, were com- 
pletely jaded; it was feared they would give out. Wash- 
ington dismounted, gave up his saddle-horse to aid in trans- 
porting the baggage, and requested his companions to do the 
same. None but the drivers remained in the saddle. He 
now equipped himself in an Indian hunting dress, and with 
Van Braam, Gist, and John Davidson, the Indian inter- 
preter, proceeded on foot. 

The cold increased. There was deep snow that froze as 
it fell. The horses grew less and less capable of traveling. 
For three days they toiled on slowly and wearily. Washing- 
ton was impatient to accomplish his journey, and make his 
report to the governor; he determined, therefore, to hasten 
some distance in advance of the party, and then strike for 
the Fork of the Ohio by the nearest course directly through 
the woods. He accordingly put the cavalcade under the 
command of Van Braam, and furnished him with money for 

Cife of U/asI?ip<$tor) 107 

expenses: then disencumbering himself of all superfluous 
clothing, buckling himself up in a watch coat, strapping his 
pack on his shoulders, containing his papers and provisions, 
and taking gun in hand, he left the horses to flounder on, 
and struck manfully ahead, accompanied only by Mr. Gist, 
who had equipped himself in like manner. 

At night they lighted a fire, and " camped'' by it in the 
woods. At two o'clock in the morning they were again on 
foot, and pressed forward until they struck the southeast 
fork of Beaver Creek, at a place bearing the sinister name 
of Murdering Town; probably the scene of some Indian 

Here Washington, in planning his route, had intended 
to leave the regular path, and strike through the woods for 
Shannopins Town, two or three miles above the Fork of the 
Ohio, where he hoped to be able to cross the Alleghany River 
on the ice. 

At Murdering Town he found a party of Indians, who 
appeared to have known of his coming, and to have been 
waiting for him. One of them accosted Mr. Gist, and ex- 
pressed great joy at seeing him. The wary woodman 
regarded him narrowly, and thought he had seen him at 
Joncaire's. If so, he and his comrades were in the French 
interest, and their lying in wait boded no good. The Indian 
was very curious in his inquiries as to when they had left 
Venango; how they came to be traveling on foot; where 
they had left their horses, and when it was probable the 
latter would reach this place. All these questions increased 
the distrust of Gist, and rendered him extremely cautious 
in reply. 

The route hence to Shannopins Town lay through a 
trackless wild, of which the travelers knew nothing; after 

108 U/orKs of WastyvQtoT) Irvii)$ 

some consultation, therefore, it was deemed expedient to 
engage one of the Indians as a guide. He entered upon his 
duties with alacrity, took Washington's pack upon his back 
and led the way by what he said was the most direct course. 
After traveling briskly for eight or ten miles, "Washington 
became fatigued, and his feet were chafed ; he thought, too, 
they were taking a direction too much to the northeast ; he 
came to a halt, therefore, and determined to light a fire, 
make a shelter of the bark and branches of trees, and en- 
camp there for the night. The Indian demurred ; he offered, 
as Washington was fatigued, to carry his gun, but the latter 
was too wary to part with his weapon. The Indian now 
grew churlish. There were Ottawa Indians in the woods, 
he said, who might be attracted by their fire, and surprise 
and scalp them ; he urged, therefore, that they should con- 
tinue on : he would take them to his cabin, where they would 
be safe. 

Mr. Gist's suspicions increased, but he said nothing. 
Washington's also were awakened. They proceeded some 
distance further:, the guide paused and listened. He had 
heard, he said, the report of a gun toward the north ; it must 
be from his cabin; he accordingly turned his steps in that 

Washington began to apprehend an ambuscade of sav- 
ages. He knew the hostility of many of them to the En- 
glish, and what a desirable trophy was the scalp of a white 
man. The Indian still kept on toward the north; he pre- 
tended to hear two whoops — they were from his cabin — it 
could not be far off. 

They went on two miles further, when Washington sig- 
nified his determination to encamp at the first water they 
should find. The guide said nothing, but kept doggedly on. 

Cife of U/a8l?iQ$toi) 109 

After a little while they arrived at an opening in the woods, 
and emerging from the deep shadows in which they had 
been traveling, found themselves in a clear meadow, ren- 
dered still more light by the glare of the snow upon the 
ground. Scarcely had they emerged when the Indian, who 
was about fifteen paces ahead, suddenly turned, leveled his 
gun, and fired. Washington was startled for an instant; 
but, feeling that he was not wounded, demanded quickly of 
Mr. Gist if he was shot. The latter answered in the nega- 
tive. The Indian, in the meantime, had run forward and 
screened himself behind a large white oak, where he was 
reloading his gun. They overtook and seized him. Gist 
would have put him to death on the spot, but Washington 
humanely prevented him. They permitted him to finish the 
loading of his gun ; but, after he had put in the ball, took 
the weapon from him and let him see that he was under 

Arriving at a small stream they ordered the Indian to 
make a fire, and took turns to watch over the guns. While 
he was thus occupied, Gist, a veteran woodman, and accus- 
tomed to hold the life of an Indian rather cheap, was some- 
what incommoded by the scruples of his youthful commander, 
which might enable the savage to carry out some scheme of 
treachery. He observed to Washington that, since he would 
not suffer the Indian to be killed, they must manage to get 
him out of the way, and then decamp with all speed and 
travel all night to leave this perfidious neighborhood behind 
them ; but first it was necessary to blind the guide as to their 
intentions. He accordingly addressed him in a friendly tone, 
and adverting to the late circumstance, pretended to suppose 
that he had lost his way, and fired his gun merely as a sig- 
nal The Indian, whether deceived or not, readily chimed 

110 UVorl^s of U/a8l?ii}$tor? Iruir;^ 

in with the explanation. He said he now knew the way to 
his cabin, which was at no great distance. "Well, then," 
replied Gist, "you can go home, and as we are tired we will 
remain here for the night, and follow your track at daylight. 
In the meantime here is a cake of bread for you, and you 
must give us some meat in the morning." 

Whatever might have beeu the original designs of the 
savage, he was evidently glad to get off. Gist followed him 
cautiously for a distance, and listened until the sound of his 
footsteps died away; returning then to Washington, they 
proceeded about half a mile, made another fire, set their 
compass and fixed their course by the light of it, then leav- 
ing it burning, pushed forward, and traveled as fast as pos- 
sible all night, so as to gain a fair start should any one pur- 
sue them at daylight. Continuing on the next day they 
never relaxed their speed until nightfall, when they arrived 
on the banks of the Alleghany River, about two miles above 
Shannopins Town. 

Washington had expected to find the river frozen com- 
pletely over; it was so only for about fifty yards from each 
shore, while great quantities of broken ice were driving 
down the main channel. Trusting that he had out-traveled 
pursuit, he encamped on the border of the river; still it was 
an anxious night, and he was up at daybreak to devise some 
means of reaching the opposite bank. No other mode pre- 
sented itself than by a raft, and to construct this they had 
but one poor hatchet. With this they set resolutely to work 
and labored all day, but the sun went down before their raft 
was finished. They launched it, however, and getting on 
board, endeavored to propel it across with setting poles. Be- 
fore they were half way over the raft became jammed be- 
tween cakes of ice, and they were in imminent peril. Wash- 

Cife of U/asl?in$tor; 111 

ington planted his pole on the bottom of the stream, and 
leaned against it with all his might, to stay the raft until 
the ice should pass by. The rapid current forced the ice 
against the pole with such violence that he was jerked into 
the water, where it was at least ten feet deep, and only saved 
himself from being swept away and drowned by catching 
hold of one of the raft logs. 

It was now impossible with all their exertions to get to 
either shore ; abandoning the raft, therefore, they got upon 
an island, near which they were drifting. Here they passed 
the night exposed to intense cold, by which the hands and 
feet of Mr. Gist were frozen. In the morning they found 
the drift ice wedged so closely together that they succeeded 
in getting from the island to the opposite side of the river; 
and before night were in comfortable quarters at the house 
of Frazier, the Indian trader, at the mouth of Turtle Creek 
on the Monongahela. 

Here they learned from a war party of Indians that a 
band of Ottawas, a tribe in the interest of the French, had 
massacred a whole family of whites on the banks of the 
Great Kanawha River. 

At Frazier's they were detained two or three days en- 
deavoring to procure horses. In this interval "Washington 
had again occasion to exercise Indian diplomacy. About 
three miles distant, at the mouth of the Youghiogeny River, 
dwelt a female sachem, Queen Aliquippa, as the English 
called her, whose sovereign dignity had been aggrieved that 
the party, on their way to the Ohio, had passed near her 
royal wigwam without paying their respects to her. 

Aware of the importance, at this critical juncture, of 
securing the friendship of the Indians, Washington availed 
himself of the interruption of his journey to pay a visit of 

112 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir;<$toi) Irvii?o; 

ceremony to this native princess. Whatever anger she may 
have felt at past neglect, it was readily appeased by a pres- 
ent of his old watch-coat ; and her good graces were com- 
pletely secured by a bottle of rum, which, he intimates, 
appeared to be peculiarly acceptable to her majesty. 

Leaving Frazier's on the 1st of January, they arrived on 
the 2d at Gist's residence, sixteen miles from the Mononga- 
hela. Here they separated, and Washington, having pur- 
chased a horse, continued his homeward course, passing 
horses laden with materials and stores for the fort at the 
Fork of the Ohio, and families going out to settle there. 

Having crossed the Blue Ridge and stopped one day at 
Belvoir to rest, he reached Williamsburg on the 16th of 
January, where he delivered to Governor Dinwiddie the let- 
ter of the French commandant, and made him a full report 
of the events of his mission. 

We have been minute in our account of this expedition, 
as it was an early test and development of the various tal- 
ents and characteristics of Washington. 

The prudence, sagacity, resolution, firmness, and self-de- 
votion manifested by him throughout; his admirable tact 
and self-possession in treating with fickle savages and crafty 
white men ; the soldier's eye with which he had noticed the 
commanding and defensible points of the country, and every- 
thing that would bear upon military operations; and the 
hardihood with which he had acquitted himself during a 
wintry tramp through the wilderness, through constant 
storms of rain and snow, often sleeping on the ground 
without a tent in the open air, and in danger from treach- 
erous foes — all pointed him out, not merely to the governor, 
but to the public at large, as one eminently fitted, notwith- 
standing his youth, for important trusts involving civil as 

Cife of U/a8l/iQ<$ton 113 

well as military duties. It is an expedition that may be 
considered the foundation of his fortunes. From that mo- 
ment he was the rising hope of Virginia. 


Reply of the Chevalier de St. Pierre — Trent's Mission to the Fron- 
tier — Washington recruits Troops — Dinwiddie and the House 
of Burgesses — Independent Conduct of the Virginians — Expedi- 
ents to gain Recruits — Jacob Van Braam in Service — Toilful 
March to Wills' Creek — Contrecoeur at the Fork of the Ohio — 
Trent's refractory Troops 

The reply of the Chevalier de St. Pierre was such as 
might have been expected from that courteous but wary 
commander. He should transmit, he said, the letter of Gov- 
ernor Dinwiddie to his general, the Marquis du Quesne, "to 
whom," observed he, "it better belongs than to me to set 
forth the evidence and reality of the rights of the king, my 
master, upon the lands situated along the river Ohio, and to 
contest the pretensions of the king of Great Britain thereto. 
His answer shall be a law to me As to the sum- 
mons you send me to retire, I do not think myself obliged 
to obey it. Whatever may be your instructions, I am here 
by virtue of the orders of my general ; and I entreat you, 
sir, not to doubt one moment but that I am determined to 
conform myself to them with all the exactness and resolution 
which can be expected from the best officer." .... 

"I made it my particular care," adds he, "to receive Mr. 
Washington with a distinction suitable to your dignity, as 
well as his own quality and great merit. I flatter myself 

114 U/orl^s of U/as^ir>^top Iruii)$ 

that he will do me this justice before you, sir, and that he 
will signify to you, in the manner I do myself, the profound 
respect with which I am, sir," etc.* 

This soldier-like and punctilious letter of the chevalier 
was considered evasive, and only intended to gain time. 
The information given by Washington of what he had ob- 
served on the frontier convinced Governor Dinwiddie and 
his council that the French were preparing to descend the 
Ohio in the spring, and take military possession of the coun- 
try. Washington's journal was printed, and widely promul- 
gated throughout the colonies and England, and awakened 
the nation to a sense of the impending danger, and the neces- 
sity of prompt measures to anticipate the French movements. 

Captain Trent was dispatched to the frontier, commis- 
sioned to raise a company of one hundred men, march with 
all speed to the Fork of the Ohio, and finish as soon as pos- 
sible the fort commenced there by the Ohio Company. He 
was enjoined to act only on the defensive, but to capture or 
destroy whoever should oppose the construction of the works, 
or disturb the settlements. The choice of Captain Trent for 
this service, notwithstanding his late inefficient expedition, 
was probably owing to his being brother-in-law to George 
Croghan, who had grown to be quite a personage of conse- 
quence on the frontier, where he had an establishment or 
trading-house, and was supposed to have great influence 
among the western tribes, so as to be able at any time to 
persuade many of them to take up the hatchet. 

Washington was empowered to raise a company of like 
force at Alexandria; to procure and forward munitions and 
supplies for the projected fort at the Fork, and ultimately to 

* London Mag., June, 1754. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$tor> 115 

have command of both companies. When on the frontier he 
was to take council of George Croghan and Andrew Mon- 
tour, the interpreter, in all matters relating to the Indians, 
they being esteemed perfect oracles in that department. 

Governor Dinwiddie in the meantime called upon the 
governors of the other provinces to make common cause 
against the foe ; he endeavored, also, to effect alliances with 
the Indian tribes of the south, the Catawbas and Cherokees, 
by way of counterbalancing the Chippewas and Ottawas, 
who were devoted to the French. 

The colonies, however, felt as yet too much like isolated 
territories ; the spirit of union was wanting. Some pleaded 
a want of military funds ; some questioned the justice of the 
cause ; some declined taking any hostile step that might in- 
volve them in a war, unless they should have direct orders 
from the crown. 

Dinwiddie convened the House of Burgesses to devise 
measures for the public security. Here his high idea of 
prerogative and of gubernatorial dignity met with a griev- 
ous counter-check from the dawning spirit of independence. 
High as were the powers vested in the colonial govern- 
ment of Virginia — of which, though but lieutenant-governor, 
he had the actual control — they were counterbalanced by the 
power inherent in the people, growing out of their situation 
and circumstances, and acting through their representatives. 

There was no turbulent, factious opposition to govern, 
ment in Virginia; no "fierce democracy," the rank growth 
of crowded cities and a fermenting populace; but there was 
the independence of men living apart in patriarchal style on 
their own rural domains ; surrounded by their families, de- 
pendents and slaves, among whom their will was law; and 
there was the individuality in character and action of men 

116 U/or^s of U/asl?ii}$toi) Irving 

prone to nurture peculiar notions and habits of thinking, in 
the thoughtful solitariness of country life. 

When Dinwiddie propounded his scheme of operations on 
the Ohio, some of the burgesses had the hardihood to doubt 
the claims of the king to the disputed territory, a doubt 
which the governor reprobated as savoring strongly of a 
most disloyal French spirit; he fired, as he says, at the 
thought "that an English legislature should presume to 
doubt the right of his Majesty to the interior parts of this 
continent, the back part of his dominions !" 

Others demurred to any grant of means for military pur- 
poses which might be construed into an act of hostility. To 
meet this scruple it was suggested that the grant might be 
made for the purpose of encouraging and protecting all set- 
tlers on the waters of the Mississippi. And under this spe- 
cious plea ten thousand pounds were grudgingly voted ; but 
even this moderate sum was not put at the absolute dispo- 
sition of the governor. A committee was appointed with 
whom he was to confer as to its appropriation. 

This precaution Dinwiddie considered an insulting inva- 
sion of the right he possessed as governor to control the purse 
as well as the sword ; and he complained bitterly of the As- 
sembly, as deeply tinctured with a republican way of think- 
ing, and disposed to encroach on the prerogative of the 
crown, "which he feared would render them more and more 
difficult to be brought to order. 19 

Ways and means being provided, Governor Dinwiddie 
augmented the number of troops to be enlisted to three hun- 
dred, divided into six companies. The command of the 
whole, as before, was offered to Washington, but he shrank 
from it, as a charge too great for his youth and inexperience. 
It was given, therefore, to Colonel Joshua Fry, an English 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$top 117 

gentleman of worth and education, and Washington was 
made second in command, with the rank of lieutenant- 

The recruiting, at first, went on slowly. Those who 
offered to enlist, says Washington, were for the most part 
loose, idle persons without house or home, some without 
shoes or stockings, some shirtless, and many without coat 
or waistcoat. 

He was young in the recruiting service, or he would have 
known that such is generally the stuff of which armies are 
made. In this country especially it has always been difficult 
to enlist the active yeomanry by holding out merely the pay 
of a soldier. The means of subsistence are too easily ob- 
tained by the industrious for them to give up home and per- 
sonal independence for a mere daily support. Some may be 
tempted by a love of adventure ; but in general they require 
some prospect of ultimate advantage that may " better their 

Governor Dinwiddie became sensible of this, and resorted 
to an expedient rising out of the natural resources of the 
country, which has since been frequently adopted, and al- 
ways with efficacy. He proclaimed a bounty of two hun- 
dred thousand acres of land on the Ohio River, to be divided 
among the officers and soldiers who should engage in this 
expedition; one thousand to be laid off contiguous to the fort 
at the Fork, for the use of the garrison. This was a tempt- 
ing bait to the sons of farmers, who readily enlisted in the 
hope of having, at the end of a short campaign, a snug farm 
of their own in this land of promise. 

It was a more difficult matter to get officers than soldiers, 
Very few of those appointed made their appearance; one of 
the captains had been promoted ; two declined ; Washington 

118 U/ork» of U/asI?ip<$tor) 7n/io$ 

found himself left, almost alone, to manage a number of self- 
willed, undisciplined recruits. Happily he had with him, in 
the rank of lieutenant, that soldier of fortune, Jacob Van 
Braam, his old "master of fence," and traveling interpreter. 

In his emergency he forthwith nominated him captain, 
and wrote to the governor to confirm the appointment, rep- 
resenting him as the oldest lieutenant, and an experienced 

On the 2d of April Washington set off from Alexandria 
for the new fort, at the Fork of the Ohio. He had but two 
companies with him, amounting to about one hundred and 
fifty men ; the remainder of the regiment was to follow un- 
der Colonel Fry with the artillery, which was to be conveyed 
up the Potomac. While on the march he was joined by a 
detachment under Captain Adam Stephen, an officer des- 
tined to serve with him at distant periods of his military 

At Winchester he found it impossible to obtain convey- 
ances by gentle means, and was obliged reluctantly to avail 
himself of the militia law of Virginia, and impress horses 
and wagons for service; giving the owners orders on gov- 
ernment for their appraised value. Even then, out of a 
great number impressed, he obtained but ten, after waiting 
a week ; these, too, were grudgingly furnished by farmers 
with their worst horses, so that in steep and difficult passes 
they were incompetent to the draught, and the soldiers had 
continually to put their shoulders to the wheels. 

Thus slenderly fitted out, Washington and his little force 
made their way toilfully across the mountains, having to 
prepare the roads as they went for the transportation of the 
cannon, which were to follow on with the other division un- 
der Colonel Fry. They cheered themselves with the thoughts 

Cife of U/as^ii7<$toi> 119 

that this hard work would cease when they should arrive at 
the company's trading-post and storehouse at Wills' Creek, 
where Captain Trent was to have pack-horses in readiness, 
with which they might make the rest of the way by light 
stages. Before arriving there they were startled by a rumor 
that Treat and all his men had been captured by the French. 
With regard to Trent, the news soon proved to be false, for 
they found him at Wills' Creek on the 20th of April. With 
regard to his men there was still an uncertainty. He had 
recently left them at the Fork of the Ohio, busily at work 
on the fort under the command of his lieutenant, Frazier, 
late Indian trader and gunsmith, but now a provincial officer. 
If the men had been captured, it must have been since the 
captain's departure. Washington was eager to press for- 
ward and ascertain the truth, but it was impossible. Trent, 
inefficient as usual, had failed to provide pack-horses. It 
was necessary to send to Winchester, sixty miles distant, for 
baggage -wagons, and await their arrival. All uncertainty 
as to the fate of the men, however, was brought to a close 
by their arrival, on the 25th, conducted by an ensign, and 
bringing with them their working implements. The French 
might well boast that they had again been too quick for the 
English. Captain Contrecceur, an alert officer, had em- 
barked about a thousand men with field-pieces, in a fleet 
of sixty batteaux and three hundred canoes, dropped down 
the river from Venango, and suddenly made his appearance 
before the fort on which the men were working, and which 
was not half completed. Landing, drawing up his men, 
and planting his artillery, he summoned the fort to sur- 
render, allowing one hour for a written reply. 

What was to be done ! the whole garrison did not exceed 
fifty men. Captain Trent was absent at Wills' Creek; 

120 ll/orl^s of U/a8l?ii}$toi) Iruii)<$ 

Frazier, his lieutenant, was at his own residence at Turtle 
Creek, ten miles distant. There was no officer to reply but 
a young ensign of the name of Ward. In his perplexity he 
turned for counsel to Tanacharisson, the half -king, who was 
present in the fort. The chief advised the ensign to plead 
insufficiency of rank and powers, and crave delay until the 
arrival of his superior officer. The ensign repaired to the 
French camp to offer this excuse in person, and was accom- 
panied by the half-king. They were courteously received, 
but Contrecoeur was inflexible. There must be instant sur- 
render, or he would take forcible possession. All that the 
ensign could obtain was permission to depart with his men, 
taking with them their working tools. The capitulation 
ended, Contrecoeur, with true French gayety, invited the 
ensign to sup with him, treated him with the utmost polite- 
ness, and wished him a pleasant journey, as he set off the 
next morning with his men laden with their working tools. 

Such was the ensign's story. He was accompanied by 
two Indian warriors, sent by the half -king to ascertain where 
the detachment was, what was its strength, and when it 
might be expected at the Ohio. They bore a speech from 
that sachem to Washington, and another, with a belt of 
wampum, for the Governor of Virginia. In these he 
plighted his steadfast faith to the English, and claimed 
assistance from his brothers of Virginia and Pennsylvania. 

One of these warriors Washington forwarded on with the 
speech and wampum to Governor Dinwiddie. The other he 
prevailed on to return to the half -king, bearing a speech from 
him, addressed to the " Sachems, warriors of the Six United 
Nations, Shannoahs and Delawares, our friends and breth- 
ren." In this he informed them that he was on the advance 
with a part of the army, to clear the road for a greater force 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 121 

coming with guns, ammunition and provisions; and he in- 
vited the half -king and another sachem to meet him on the 
road as soon as possible to hold a council. 

In fact, his situation was arduous in the extreme. Re- 
garding the conduct of the French in the recent occurrence 
an overt act of war, he found himself thrown with a hand- 
ful of raw recruits far on a hostile frontier, in the midst of 
a wilderness, with an enemy at hand greatly superior in 
number and discipline ; provided with artillery, and all the 
munitions of war, and within reach of constant supplies and 
re-enforcements. Besides the French that had come from 
Venango, he had received credible accounts of another party 
ascending the Ohio; and of six hundred Chippewas and Ot- 
tawas marching down Scioto Creek to join the hostile camp. 
Still, notwithstanding the accumulating danger, it would 
not do to fall back, nor show signs of apprehension. His 
Indian allies in such case might desert him. The soldiery, 
too, might grow restless and dissatisfied. He was already 
annoyed by Captain Trent's men, who, having enlisted as 
volunteers, considered themselves exempt from the rigor of 
martial law, and, by their example of loose and refractory 
conduct, threatened to destroy the subordination of his own 

In this dilemma he called a council of war, in which it 

was determined to proceed to the Ohio Company storehouse, 

at the mouth of Redstone Creek; fortify themselves there, 

and wait for re-enforcements. Here they might keep up a 

vigilant watch upon the enemy, and get notice of any hostile 

movement in time for defense, or retreat ; and should they 

be re-enforced sufficiently to enable them to attack the fort, 

they could easily drop down the river with their artillery. 

With these alternatives in view, "Washington detached 

* * * f— Vol. XII. 

122 U/orl^s of U/as^lr>^tor) Iruio$ 

sixty men in advance to make a road, and at the same time 
wrote to Governor Dinwiddie for mortars and grenadoes, 
and cannon of heavy metal. 

Aware that the Assembly of Pennsylvania was in session, 
and that the Maryland Assembly would also meet in the 
course of a few days, he wrote directly to the governors of 
those provinces, acquainting them with the hostile acts of 
the French and with his perilous situation, and endeavoring 
to rouse them to co-operation in the common cause . We 
will here note in advance that his letter was laid before the 
Legislature of Pennsylvania, and a bill was about to be 
passed asking appropriations for the service of the king; but 
it fell through, in consequence of a disagreement between 
the Assembly and the governor as to the mode in which the 
money should be raised ; and so no assistance was furnished 
to Washington from that quarter. The youthful commander 
had here a foretaste, in these his incipient campaigns, of the 
perils and perplexities which awaited him from enemies in 
the field and lax friends in legislative councils in the grander 
operations of his future years. Before setting off for Red- 
stone Creek, he discharged Trent's refractory men from his 
detachment, ordering them to await Colonel Fry's com- 
mands ; they, however, in the true spirit of volunteers from 
the backwoods, dispersed to their several homes. 

It may be as well to observe, in this place, that both Cap- 
tain Trent and Lieutenant Frazier were severely censured 
for being absent from their post at the time of the French 
summons. "Trent's behavior," said Washington, in a letter 
to Governor Dinwiddie, "has been very tardy, and has con- 
vinced the world of what they before suspected — his great 
timidity. Lieutenant Frazier, though not altogether blame- 
less, is much more excusable, for he would not accept of the 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$tor) 123 

commission until he had a promise from his captain that he 
should not reside at the fort, nor visit it above once a week, 
or as he saw necessity." In fact, Washington subsequently 
recommended Frazier for the office of adjutant. 


March to the Little Meadows — Rumors from the Ohio — Correspond- 
ence from the banks of the Youghiogeny — Attempt to descend 
that River — Alarming Reports — Scouting Parties — Perilous 
situation of the Camp — Gist and La Force — Message from the 
Half-king— French Tracks — The Jumonville Skirmish — Treat- 
ment of La Force — Position at the Great Meadows — Belligerent 
feelings of a young Soldier 

On the 29th of April, Washington set out from Wills' 
Creek at the head of one hundred and sixty men. He soon 
overtook those sent in advance to work the road; they had 
made but little progress. It was a difficult task to break a 
road through the wilderness sufficient for the artillery com- 
ing on with Colonel Fry's division. All hands were now 
set to work, but with all their labor they could not accom- 
plish more than four miles a day. They were toiling through 
Savage Mountain and that dreary forest region beyond it, 
since bearing the sinister name of "The Shades of Death." 
On the 9th of May they were not further than twenty miles 
from Wills' Creek, at a place called the Little Meadows. 

Every day came gloomy accounts from the Ohio ; brought 
chiefly by traders who, with pack-horses bearing their effects, 
were retreating to the more settled parts of the country. 
Some exaggerated the number of the French, as if strongly 

126 U/orks of \JJa&\)\T)$tOT) Irvir^ 

italics, as applicable to the motives which in after life carried 
him into the Revolution. 

While the bridge over the Youghiogeny was in the course 
of construction, the Indians assured Washington he would 
never be able to open a wagon-road across the mountains to 
Redstone Creek; he embarked, therefore, in a canoe with a 
lieutenant, three soldiers, and an Indian guide, to try whether 
it was possible to descend the river. They had not descended 
above ten miles before the Indian refused to go further. 
Washington soon ascertained the reason. "Indians," said 
he, "expect presents — nothing can be done without them. 
The French take this method. If you want one or more to 
conduct a party, to discover the country, to hunt, or for any 
particular purpose, they must be bought; their friendship 
is not so warm as to prompt them to these services gratis." 
The Indian guide, in the present instance, was propitiated 
by the promise of one of Washington's ruffled shirts and a 

The river was bordered by mountains and obstructed by 
rocks and rapids. Indians might thread such a labyrinth in 
their light canoes, but it would never admit the transporta- 
tion of troops and military stores. Washington kept on for 
thirty miles, until he came to a place where the river fell 
nearly forty feet in the space of fifty yards. There he ceased 
to explore, and returned to camp, resolving to continue for- 
ward by land. 

On the 23d Indian scouts brought word that the French 
were not above eight hundred strong, and that about half 
their number had been detached at night on a secret expedi- 
tion. Close upon this report came a message from the half- 
king, addressed "to the first of his majesty's officers whom 
it may concem. ,, 

Cife of U/asl?ir/<$tOD 127 

"It is reported/ ' said he, "that the French army is com- 
ing to meet Major Washington. Be on your guard against 
them, my brethren, for they intend to strike the first English 
they shall see. They have been on their march two days. I 
know not their number. The half- king and the rest of the 
chiefs will be with you in five days to hold a council.' ' 

In the evening Washington was told that the French 
were crossing the ford of the Youghiogeny about eighteen 
miles distant. He now hastened to take a position in a place 
called the Great Meadows, where he caused the bushes to be 
cleared away, made an intrenchment, and prepared what 
he termed "a charming field for an encounter. " 

A party of scouts were mounted on wagon horses, and 
sent out to reconnoiter. They returned without having seen 
an enemy. A sensitiveness prevailed in the camp. They 
were surrounded by forests, threatened by unseen foes, and 
hourly in danger of surprise. There was an alarm about 
two o'clock in the night. The sentries fired upon what they 
took to be prowling foes. The troops sprang to arms, and 
remained on the alert until daybreak. Not an enemy was 
to be seen. The roll was called. Six men were missing, 
who had deserted. 

On the 25th Mr. Gist arrived from his place, about fifteen 
miles distant. La Force had been there at noon on the pre- 
vious day, with a detachment of fifty men, and Gist had 
since come upon their track within five miles of the camp. 
Washington considered La Force a bold, enterprising man, 
subtle and dangerous; one to be particularly guarded against. 
He detached seventy-five men in pursuit of him and his 
prowling band. 

About nine o'clock at night came an Indian messenger 
from the half -king, who was encamped with several of his 

128 U/orl^s of U/as^ii7<$toi> In/i^o" 

people about six miles off. The chief had seen tracks of two 
Frenchmen, and was convinced their whole body must be in 
ambush near by. 

Washington considered this the force which had been 
hovering about him for several days, and determined to 
forestall their hostile designs. Leaving a guard with the 
baggage and ammunition, he set out before ten o'clock, with 
forty men, to join his Indian ally. They groped their way 
in single file, by footpaths through the woods, in a heavy 
rain and murky darkness, tripping occasionally and stum- 
bling over each other, sometimes losing the track for fifteen 
or twenty minutes, so that it was near sunrise when they 
reached the camp of the half-king. 

That chieftain received the youthful commander with 
great demonstrations of friendship, and engaged to go hand 
in hand with him against the lurking enemy. He set out, 
accordingly, accompanied by a few of his warriors and his 
associate sachem Scarooyadi or Monacatoocha, and conducted 
Washington to the tracks which he had discovered. Upon 
these he put two of his Indians. They followed them up 
like hounds, and brought back word that they had traced 
them to a low bottom surrounded by rocks and trees, where 
the French were encamped, having built a few cabins for 
shelter from the rain. 

A plan was now concerted to come upon them by sur- 
prise ; Washington with his men on the right ; the half -king 
with his warriors on the left; all as silently as possible. 
Washington was the first upon the ground. As he advanced 
from among the rocks and trees at the head of his men, the 
French caught sight of him and ran to their arms. A sharp 
firing instantly took place, and was kept up on both sides for 
about fifteen minutes. Washington and his party were most 

Cife of U/asf?ir)<$tor7 129 

exposed, and received all the enemy's fire. The balls 
whistled around him ; one man was killed close by him, and 
three others wounded. The French at length, having lost 
several of their number, gave way and ran. They were 
soon overtaken; twenty-one were captured, and but one 
escaped, a Canadian, who carried the tidings of the affair 
to the fort on the Ohio. The Indians would have massacred 
the prisoners had not Washington prevented them. Ten of 
the French had fallen in the skirmish, and one been wounded. 
Washington's loss was the one killed and three wounded 
which we have mentioned. He had been in the hottest fire, 
and, having for the first time heard balls whistle about him, 
considered his escape miraculous. Jumonville, the French 
leader, had been shot through the head at the first fire. He 
was a young officer of merit, and his fate was made the 
subject of lamentation in prose and verse — chiefly through 
political motives. 

Of the twenty-one prisoners the two most important were 
an officer of some consequence named Drouillon, and the 
subtle and redoubtable La Force. As Washington consid- 
ered the latter an arch mischief-maker, he was rejoiced to 
have him in his power. La Force and his companion would 
fain have assumed the sacred character of embassadors, pre- 
tending they were coming with a summons to him to depart 
from the territories belonging to the crown of France. 

Unluckily for their pretensions, a letter of instructions, 
found on Jumonville, betrayed their real errand, which was 
to inform themselves of the roads, rivers, and other features 
of the country as far as the Potomac; to send back from 
time to time, by fleet messengers, all the information they 
could collect, and to give word of the day on which they 
intended to serve the summons. 

130 U/orl{8 of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Jruir)©; 

Their conduct had been conformable. Instead of coming 
in a direct and open manner to his encampment, when they 
had ascertained where it was, and delivering their summons, 
as they would have done had their designs been frank and 
loyal, they had moved back two miles, to one of the most 
secret retirements, better for a deserter than an embassador 
to encamp in, and stayed there, within five miles of his 
camp, sending spies to reconnoiter it, and dispatching mes- 
sengers to Contrecceur to inform him of its position and 
numerical strength, to the end, no doubt, that he might send 
a sufficient detachment to enforce the summons as soon as 
it should be given. In fact, the footprints which had first 
led to the discovery of the French lurking-place were those 
of two "runners" or swift messengers, sent by Jumonville 
to the fort on the Ohio. 

It would seem that La Force, after all, was but an instru- 
ment in the hands of his commanding officers, and not in 
their full confidence; for when the commission and instruc- 
tions found on Jumonville were read before him he professed 
not to have seen them before, and acknowledged, with some- 
what of an air of ingenuousness, that he believed they had 
a hostile tendency.* 

Upon the whole, it was the opinion of Washington and 
his officers that the summons, on which so much stress was 
laid, was a mere specious pretext to mask their real designs 
and be used as occasion might require. "That they were 
spies rather than anything else," and were to be treated as 
prisoners of war. 

The half -king joined heartily in this opinion; indeed, had 
the fate of the prisoners been in his hands, neither diplomacy 

* Washintgon's letter to Dinwiddie, 29th May, 1754. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi} 131 

nor anything else would have been of avail. "They came 
with hostile intentions, ' ' he said; "they had bad hearts, and 
if his English brothers were so foolish as to let them go, he 
would never aid in taking another Frenchman." 

The prisoners were accordingly conducted to the camp at 
the Great Meadows, and sent on the following day (29th), 
under a strong escort, to Governor Dinwiddie, then at Win- 
chester. Washington had treated them with great courtesy ; 
had furnished Drouillon and La Force with clothing from 
his own scanty stock, and, at their request, given them let- 
ters to the governor, bespeaking for them "the respect and 
favor due to their character and personal merit." 

A sense of duty, however, obliged him, in his general 
dispatch, to put the governor on his guard against La Force. 
"I really think, if released, he would do more to our dis- 
service than fifty other men, as he is a person whose active 
spirit leads him into all parties, and has brought him ac- 
quainted with all parts of the country. Add to this a per- 
fect knowledge of the Indian tongue, and a great influence 
with the Indians." 

After the departure of the prisoners, he wrote again 
respecting them: "I have still stronger presumption, indeed 
almost confirmation, that they were sent as spies, and were 
ordered to wait near us till they were fully informed of our 
intentions, situation and strength, and were to have ac- 
quainted their commander therewith, and to have been lurk- 
ing here for re-enforcements before they served the summons, 
if served at all. 

"I doubt not but they will endeavor to amuse you with 
many smooth stories, as they did me ; but they were confuted 
in them all, and, by circumstances too plain to be denied, 
almost made ashamed of their assertions. 

132 U/or^s of U/ast?ii)$toi) Iruipo; 

"I have heard since they went away they should say 
they called on us not to fire ; but that I know to be false, for 
I was the first man that approached them, and the first whom 
they saw, and immediately they ran to their arms, and fired 
briskly till they were defeated." .... "I fancy they will 
have the assurance of asking the privileges due to an em- 
bassy, when in strict justice they ought to be hanged as spies 
of the worst sort." 

The situation of Washington was now extremely perilous. 
Contrecceur, it was said, had nearly a thousand men with 
him at the fort, besides Indian allies; and re-enforcements 
were on the way to join him. The messengers sent by 
Jumonville, previous to the late affair, must have apprised 
him of the weakness of the encampment on the Great Mead- 
ows. Washington hastened to strengthen it. He wrote by 
express also to Colonel Fry, who lay still at Wills' Creek, 
urging instant re-enforcements ; but declaring his resolution 
"to fight with very unequal numbers rather than give up one 
inch of what he had gained." 

The half -king was full of fight. He sent the scalps of 
the Frenchmen slain in the late skirmish, accompanied by 
black wampum and hatchets, to all his allies, summoning 
them to take up arms and join him at Redstone Creek, "for 
their brothers, the English, had now begun in earnest." It 
is said he would even have sent the scalps of the prisoners 
had not Washington interfered.* He went off for his home, 
promising to send down the river for all the Mingoes and 
Shawnees, and to be back at the camp on the 30th, with 
thirty or forty warriors, accompanied by their wives and 
children. To assist him in the transportation of his people 

* Letter from Virginia. — London Mag., 1754. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$tor) 133 

and their effects, thirty men were detached, and twenty 

"I shall expect every hour to be attacked," writes Wash- 
ington to Governor Dinwiddie, on the 29th, "and by unequal 
numbers, which I must withstand, if there are five to one, 
for I fear the consequence will be that we shall lose the 
Indians if we suffer ourselves to be driven back. Your 
honor may depend I will not be surprised, let them come afc 
what hour they will, and this is as much as I can promise; 
but my best endeavors shall not be wanting to effect more. 
I doubt not, if you hear I am beaten, but you will hear at 
the same time that we have done our duty in fighting as long 
as there is a shadow of hope." 

The fact is, that Washington was in a high state of mili- 
tary excitement. He was a young soldier; had been for the 
first time in action, and been successful. The letters we 
have already quoted show, in some degree, the fervor of his 
mind, and his readiness to brave the worst; but a short 
letter, written to one of his brothers, on the 31st, lays open 
the recesses of his heart. 

"We expect every hour to be attacked by superior force; 
but if they forbear but one day longer we shall be prepared 
for them. . . . We have already got intrenchments, and 
are about a palisade which, I hope, will be finished to-day. 
The Mingoes have struck the French, and, I hope, will give 
a good blow before they have done. I expect forty odd of 
them here to-night, which, with our fort, and some re- 
enforcements from Colonel Fry, will enable us to exert our 
noble courage with spirit." 

Alluding in a postscript to the late affair, he adds: "1 
fortunately escaped without any wound ; for the right wing, 
where I stood, was exposed to and received all the enemy's 

134 U/orl^s of U/asbip^toi? Iri/fi?$ 

fire ; and it was the part where the man was killed and the 
rest wounded. I heard the bullets whistle , and, believe 
me, there is something charming in the sound." 

This rodomontade, as Horace Walpole terms it, reached 
the ears of George II. "He would not say so,' ' observed 
the king, dryly, "if he had been used to hear many." * 

Washington himself thought so when more experienced 
in warfare. Being asked, many years afterward, whether 
he really had made such a speech about the whistling of 
bullets, "If I said so," replied he, quietly, "it was when I 
was young, "t He was, indeed, but twenty-two years old 
when he said it; it was just after his first battle; he was 
flashed with success, and was writing to a brother. 

* This anecdote has hitherto rested on the authority of 
Horace Walpole, who gives it in his memoirs of George II., 
and in his correspondence. He cites the rodomontade as 
contained in the express dispatched by Washington, whom 
he pronounces a "brave braggart." As no dispatch of 
Washington contains any rodomontade of the kind; as it 
is quite at variance with the general tenor of his character ; 
and as Horace Walpole is well known to have been a "great 
gossip dealer," apt to catch up any idle rumor that would 
give piquancy to a paragraph, the story has been held in 
great distrust. We met with the letter recently, however, 
in a column of the London Magazine for 1754, page 370, 
into which it must have found its way not long after it was 

f Gordon, Hist. Am. War, vol. ii., p. 203. 

Cife of U/asI?ii)<$toi) 135 


Scarcity in the Camp — Death of Colonel Fry — Promotions — Mackay 
and his Independent Company — Major Muse — Indian Cere- 
monials—Public Prayers in Camp — Alarms — Independence of 
an Independent Company — Affairs at the Great Meadows — De- 
sertion of the Indian Allies — Capitulation of Fort Necessity — 
Van Braam as an Interpreter — Indian Plunderers — Return to 
Williamsburg — Vote of Thanks of the House of Burgesses— Sub- 
sequent Fortunes of the Half-king — Comments on the Affair of 
Jumonville and the Conduct of Van Braam 

Scarcity began to prevail in the camp. Contracts had 
been made with George Croghan for flour, of which he had 
large quantities at his frontier establishment ; for he was 
now trading with the army as well as the Indians. None, 
however, made its appearance. There was mismanagement 
in the commissariat. At one time the troops were six days 
without flour, and even then had only a casual supply from 
an Ohio trader. In this time of scarcity the half-king, his 
fellow-sachem, Scarooyadi, and thirty or forty warriors, 
arrived, bringing with them their wives and children— so 
many more hungry mouths to be supplied. "Washington 
wrote urgently to Croghan to send forward all the flour he 
could furnish. 

News came of the death of Colonel Fry at Wills' Creek, 
and that he was to be succeeded in the command of the ex- 
pedition by Colonel Innes of North Carolina, who was act- 
ually at Winchester with three hundred and fifty North 
Carolina troops. Washington, who felt the increasing re- 

136 U/or^s of U/as^ip^toi) Irvir;$ 

sponsibilities and difficulties of his situation, rejoiced at the 
prospect of being under the command of an experienced 
officer, who had served in company with his brother Law- 
rence at the siege of Carthagena. The colonel, however, 
never came to the camp, nor did the North Carolina troops 
render any service in the campaign— the fortunes of which 
might otherwise have been very different. 

By the death of Fry, the command of the regiment de- 
volved on Washington. Finding a blank major's commis- 
sion among Fry's papers, he gave it to Captain Adam 
Stephen, who had conducted himself with spirit. As there 
would necessarily be other changes, he wrote to Governor 
Dinwiddie in behalf of Jacob Van Braam. "He has acted 
as captain ever since we left Alexandria. He is an experi- 
enced officer, and worthy of the command he has enjoyed." 

The palisaded fort was now completed, and was named 
Fort Necessity, from the pinching famine that had prevailed 
during its construction. The scanty force in camp was aug- 
mented to three hundred, by the arrival from Wills' Creek 
of the men who had been under Colonel Fry. With them 
came the surgeon of the regiment, Dr. James Craik, a 
Scotchman by birth, and one destined to become a faithful 
and confidential friend of Washington for the remainder of 
his life. 

A letter from Governor Dinwiddie announced, however, 
that Captain Mackay would soon arrive with an independent 
company of one hundred men, from South Carolina. 

The title of independent company had a sound omrnous 
of trouble. Troops of the kind, raised in the colonies under 
direction of the governors, were paid by the Crown, and the 
officers had king's commissions; such, doubtless, had Cap- 
tain Mackay. "I should have been particularly obliged,' 5 

Cife of U/a8l?ii7<$toi) 137 

writes Washington to Governor Dinwiddie, "if you had de- 
clared whether he was under my command, or independent 
of it. I hope he will have more sense than to insist upon 
any unreasonable distinction, because he and his officers 
have commissions from his majesty. Let him consider, 
though we are greatly inferior in respect to advantages of 
profit, yet we have the same spirit to serve our gracious king 
as they have, and are as ready and willing to sacrifice our 
lives for our country's good. And here once more, and for 
the last time, I must say that it will be a circumstance which 
will act upon some officers of this regiment, above all meas- 
ure, to be obliged to serve upon such different terms, when 
their lives, their fortunes and their operations are equally, 
and, I daresay, as effectually, exposed as those of others who 
are happy enough to have the king's commission." 

On the 9th arrived Washington's early instructor in mili- 
tary tactics, Adjutant Muse, recently appointed a major in 
the regiment. He was accompanied by Montour, the In- 
dian interpreter, now a provincial captain, and brought with 
him nine swivels and a small supply of powder and ball. 
Fifty or sixty horses were forthwith sent to Wills' Creek to 
bring on further supplies, and Mr. Gist was urged to hasten 
forward the artillery. 

Major Muse was likewise the bearer of a belt of wampum 
and a speech, from Governor Dinwiddie to the half -king; 
with medals for the chiefs and goods for presents among the 
friendly Indians, a measure which had been suggested by 
Washington. They were distributed with that grand cere- 
monial so dear to the red man. The chiefs assembled, 
painted and decorated in all their savage finery ; Washing- 
ton wore a medal sent to him by the governor for such occa- 
sions. The wampum and speech having been delivered, he 

138 U/orks of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Irvfi)$ 

advanced, and with all due solemnity decorated the chiefs 
and warriors with the medals, which they were to wear in 
remembrance of their father, the king of England. 

Among the warriors thus decorated was a son of Queen 
Aliquippa, the savage princess whose good graces Washing- 
ton had secured in the preceding year, by the present of an 
old watch-coat, and whose friendship was important, her 
town being at no great distance from the French fort. She 
had requested that her son might be admitted into the war 
councils of the camp, and receive an English name. The 
name of Fairfax was accordingly given to him, in the cus- 
tomary Indian form; the half -king, being desirous of like dis- 
tinction, received the name of Dinwiddie. The sachems re- 
turned the compliment in kind, by giving Washington the 
name of Connotaucarius, the meaning of which is not ex- 

William Fairfax, Washington's paternal adviser, had 
recently counseled him by letter to have public prayers in 
his camp, especially when there were Indian families there ; 
this was accordingly done at the encampment in the Great 
Meadows, and it certainly was not one of the least striking 
pictures presented in this wild campaign — the youthful com- 
mander presiding with calm seriousness over a motley as- 
semblage of half-equipped soldiery, leathern-clad hunters 
and woodmen, and painted savages with their wives and 
children, and uniting them all in solemn devotion by his 
own example and demeanor. 

On the 10th there was agitation in the camp. Scouts 
hurried in with word, as "Washington understood them, that 
a party of ninety Frenchmen were approaching. He in- 
stantly ordered out a hundred and fifty of his best men, put 
himself at their head, and leaving Major Muse with the rest 

Cife of U/asbiQ$toi) 139 

to man the fort and mount the swivels, sallied forth "in the 
full hope," as he afterward wrote to Governor Dinwiddie, 
"of procuring him another present of French prisoners.' ' 

It was another effervescence of his youthful military 
ardor, and doomed to disappointment. The report of the 
scouts had been either exaggerated or misunderstood. The 
ninety Frenchmen in military array dwindled down into 
nine French deserters. 

According to their account, the fort at the Fork was 
completed, and named Duquesne, in honor of the Governor 
of Canada. It was proof against all attack, excepting with 
bombs, on the land side. The garrison did not exceed five 
hundred, but two hundred more were hourly expected, and 
nine hundred in the course of a fortnight. 

Washington's suspicions with respect to La Force's party 
were justified by the report of these deserters; they had been 
sent out as spies, and were to show the summons if discov- 
ered or overpowered. The French commander, they added, 
had been blamed for sending out so small a party. 

On the same day Captain Mackay arrived, with his in- 
dependent company of South Carolinians. The cross-pur- 
poses, which Washington had apprehended, soon manifested 
themselves. The captain was civil and well disposed, but 
full of formalities and points of etiquette. Holding a com- 
mission direct from the king, he could not bring himself to 
acknowledge a provincial officer as his superior. He en- 
camped separately, kept separate guards, would not agree 
that Washington should assign any rallying-place for his 
men in case of alarm, and objected to receive from him the 
parole and countersign, though necessary for their common 

Washington conducted himself with circumspection, 

140 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)<$toi) Iruir)©" 

avoiding everything that might call up a question of com- 
mand, and reasoning calmly whenever such question oc- 
curred; but he urged the governor by letter to prescribe their 
relative rank and authority. "He thinks you have not a 
power to give commissions that will command him. If 
so, I can very confidently say that his absence would tend 
to the public advantage." 

On the 11th of June, Washington resumed the laborious 
march for Redstone Creek. As Captain Mackay could not 
oblige his men to work on the road unless they were allowed 
a shilling sterling a day, and as Washington did not choose 
to pay this, nor to suffer them to march at their ease while 
his own faithful soldiers were laboriously employed, he left 
the captain and his independent company as a guard at Fort 
Necessity, and undertook to complete the military road with 
his own men. 

Accordingly, he and his Virginia troops toiled forward 
through the narrow defiles of the mountaiDS, working on the 
road as they went. Scouts were sent out in all directions, 
to prevent surprise. While on the march he was continually 
beset by sachems, with their tedious ceremonials and speeches, 
all to very little purpose. Some of these chiefs were secretly 
in the French interest; few rendered any real assistance, 
and all expected presents. 

At Gist's establishment, about thirteen miles from Fort 
Necessity, Washington received certain intelligence that 
ample re-enforcements had arrived at Fort Duquesne, and a 
large force would instantly be detached against him. Com- 
ing to a halt, he began to throw up intrenchments, calling in 
two foraging parties, and sending word to Captain Mackay 
to join him with all speed. The captain and his company 
arrived in the evening ; the foraging parties the next morn- 

Cife of U/a8l?ii}<$toi) 141 

ing. A council of war was held, in which the idea of await- 
ing the enemy at this place was unanimously abandoned. 

A rapid and toilsome retreat ensued. There was a defi- 
ciency of horses. Washington gave up his own to aid in 
transporting the military munitions, leaving his baggage to 
be brought on by soldiers, whom he paid liberally. The 
other officers followed his example. The weather was sul- 
try ; the roads were rough ; provisions were scanty, and the 
men dispirited by hunger. The Virginia soldiers took turns 
to drag the swivels, but felt almost insulted by the conduct 
of the South Carolinians, who, piquing themselves upon their 
assumed privileges as "king's soldiers," sauntered along at 
their ease ; refusing to act as pioneers, or participate in the 
extra labors incident to a hurried retreat. 

On the 1st of July they reached the Great Meadows. 
Here the Virginians, exhausted by fatigue, hunger, and 
vexation, declared they would carry the baggage and drag 
the swivels no further. Contrary to his original intentions, 
therefore, Washington determined to halt here for the pres- 
ent, and fortify, sending off expresses to hasten supplies and 
re-enforcements from Wills' Creek, where he had reason to 
believe that two independent companies from New York 
were by this time arrived. 

The retreat to the Great Meadows had not been in the 
least too precipitate. Captain de Villiers, a brother-in-law 
of Jumonville, had actually sallied forth from Fort Duquesne 
at the head of upward of five hundred French, and several 
hundred Indians, eager to avenge the death of his relative. 
Arriving about dawn of day at Gist's plantation, he sur- 
rounded the works which Washington had hastily thrown up 
there, and fired into them. Finding them deserted, he con- 
cluded that those of whom he came in search had made good 

142 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Irvii)$ 

their retreat to the settlements, and it was too late to pursue 
them. He was on the point of returning to Fort Duquesne, 
when a deserter arrived, who gave word that Washington 
had come to a halt in the Great Meadows, where his troops 
were in a starving condition; for his own part, he added, 
hearing that the French were coming, he had deserted to 
them to escape starvation. 

De Villiers ordered the fellow into confinement; to be 
rewarded if his words proved true, otherwise to be hanged. 
He then pushed forward for the Great Meadows.* 

In the meantime Washington had exerted himself to en- 
large and strengthen Fort Necessity, nothing of which had 
been done by Captain Mackay and his men, while encamped 
there. The fort was about a hundred feet square, protected 
by trenches and palisades. It stood on the margin of a small 
stream, nearly in the center of the Great Meadows, which is 
a grassy plain, perfectly level, surrounded by wooded hills 
of a moderate height, and at that place about two hundred 
and fifty yards wide. Washington asked no assistance from 
the South Carolina troops, but set to work with his Vir- 
ginians, animating them by word and example ; sharing in 
the labor of felling trees, hewing off the branches and rolling 
up the trunks to form a breastwork. 

At this critical juncture he was deserted by his Indian 
allies. They were disheartened at the scanty preparations 
for defense against a superior force, and offended at being 
subjected to military command. The half -king thought he 
had not been sufficiently consulted, and that his advice had 
not been sufficiently followed ; such, at least, were some of 
the reasons which he subsequently gave for abandoning the 

* Hazard's Register of Pennsylvania, vol. iv., p. 22. 

Cife of WastyvqtOT) 143 

youthful commander on the approach of danger. The true 
reason was a desire to put his wife and children in a place 
of safety. Most of his warriors followed his example ; very 
few, and those probably who had no families at risk, re- 
mained in the camp. 

Early in the morning of the 3d, while Washington and 
his men were working on the fort, a sentinel came in wounded 
and bleeding, having been fired upon. Scouts brought word 
shortly afterward that the French were in force, about four 
miles off. Washington drew up his men on level ground 
outside of the works, to await their attack. About eleven 
o'clock there was a firing of musketry from among trees on 
rising ground, but so distant as to do no harm. Suspecting 
this to be a stratagem designed to draw his men into the 
woods, he ordered them to keep quiet, and refrain from fir- 
ing until the foe should show themselves, and draw near. 

The firing was kept up, but still under cover. He now 
fell back with his men into the trenches, ordering them to 
fire whenever they could get sight of an enemy. In this 
way, there was skirmishing throughout the day ; the French 
and Indians advancing as near as the covert of the woods 
would permit, which in the nearest place was sixty yards, 
but never into open sight. In the meantime the rain fell in 
torrents; the harassed and jaded troops were half-drowned 
in their trenches, and many of their muskets were rendered 
unfit for use. 

About eight at night the French requested a parley. 
"Washington hesitated. It might be a stratagem to gain 
admittance for a spy into the fort. The request was re- 
peated, with the addition that an officer might be sent to 
treat with them, under their parole for his safety. Unfortu- 
nately the Chevalier de Peyrouney, engineer of the regiment, 

144 U/or^s of U/a8bir)$toi) Irvir;©; 

and the only one who could speak French correctly, was 
wounded and disabled. Washington had to send, therefore, 
his ancient swordsman and interpreter, Jacob Van Braam. 
The captain returned twice with separate terms, in which 
the garrison was required to surrender; both were rejected. 
He returned the third time, with written articles of capitula- 
tion. They were in French. As no implements for writing 
were at hand, Van Braam undertook to translate them by 
word of mouth. A candle was brought and held close to 
the paper while he read. The rain fell in torrents ; it was 
difficult to keep the light from being extinguished. The 
captain rendered the capitulation, article by article, in mon- 
grel English, while Washington and his officers stood listen- 
ing, endeavoring to disentangle the meaning. One article 
stipulated that on surrendering the fort they should leave all 
their military stores, munitions, and artillery in possession 
of the French. This was objected to, and was readily 

The main articles, as Washington and his officers under- 
stood them, were, that they should be allowed to return to 
the settlements without molestation from French or Indians. 
That they should march out of the fort with the honors of 
war, drums beating and colors flying, and with all their 
effects and military stores excepting the artillery, which 
should be destroyed. That they should be allowed to de- 
posit their effects in some secret place, and leave a guard 
to protect them until they could send horses to bring them 
away; their horses having been nearly all killed or lost dur- 
ing the action. That they should give their word of honor 
not to attempt any buildings or improvements on the lands of 
his most Christian Majesty for the space of a year. That 
the prisoners taken in the skirmish of Jumonville should be 

Cife of U/as^ip<$tOQ 145 

restored, and until their delivery Captain Van Braam and 
Captain Stobo should remain with the French as hos- 

The next morning, accordingly, Washington and his men 
marched out of their forlorn fortress with the honors of war, 
bearing with them their regimental colors, but leaving be- 
hind a large flag, too cumbrous to be transported. Scarcely 
had they begun their march, however, when, in defiance of 
the terms of capitulation, they were beset by a large body 
of Indians, allies of the French, who began plundering the 
baggage and committing other irregularities. Seeing that 
the French did not, or could not, prevent them, and that all 
the baggage which could not be transported on the shoulders 
of his troops would fall into the hands of these savages, "Wash- 
ington ordered it; to be destroyed, as well as the artillery, 
gunpowder and other military stores. All this detained him 
until ten o'clock, when he set out on his melancholy march. 
He had not proceeded above a mile when two or three of 
the wounded men were reported to be missing. He imme- 
diately detached a few men back in quest of them, and 
continued on until three miles from Fort Necessity, 
where he encamped for the night and was rejoined by 
the stragglers. 

In this affair, out of the Virginia regiment, consisting of 
three hundred and five men, officers included, twelve had 
been killed and forty-three wounded. The number killed 

* Horace Walpole, in a flippant notice of this capitula- 
tion, says: "The French have tied up the hands of an ex- 
cellent fanfaron, sl Major Washington, whom they took 
and engaged not to serve for one year" (Correspondence, 
vol. iii., p. 73). Walpole, at this early date, seems to have 
considered Washington a perfect fire-eater. 

* * * G— Vol. XII. 

146 U/orKs of U/a8t?ii)$toi? Iruir>$ 

and wounded in Captain Mackay's company is not known. 
The loss of the French and Indians is supposed to have been 
much greater. 

In the following day's march the troops seemed jaded 
and disheartened; they were encumbered and delayed by 
the wounded; provisions were scanty, and they had seventy 
weary miles to accomplish before they could meet with sup- 
plies. "Washington, however, encouraged them by his own 
steadfast and cheerful demeanor, and by sharing all their 
toils and privations; and at length conducted them in safety 
to Wills' Creek, where they found ample provisions in the 
military magazines. Leaving them here to recover their 
strength, he proceeded with Captain Mackay to Williams- 
burg, to make his military report to the governor. 

A copy of the capitulation was subsequently laid before 
the Virginia House of Burgesses, with explanations. Not- 
withstanding the unfortunate result of the campaign, the 
conduct of Washington and his officers was properly appre- 
ciated, and they received a vote of thanks for their bravery 
and gallant defense of their country. Three hundred pis- 
toles (nearly eleven hundred dollars) also were voted to be 
distributed among the privates who had been in action. 

From the vote of thanks two officers were excepted ; Ma- 
jor Muse, who was charged with cowardice, and Washing- 
ton's unfortunate master of fence and blundering interpre- 
ter, Jacob Van Braam, who was accused of treachery in 
purposely misinterpreting the articles of capitulation. 

In concluding this chapter we will anticipate dates to 
record the fortunes of the half-king after his withdrawal 
from the camp. He and several of his warriors, with their 
wives and children, retreated to Aughquick, in the back part 
of Pennsylvania, where George Croghan had an agency, and 

Cife of U/a8/>ii)$top 147 

was allowed money from time to time for the maintenance 
of Indian allies. By the bye, Washington, in his letter to 
William Fairfax, expressed himself much disappointed in 
Croghan and Montour, who proved, he said, "to be great 
pretenders, and by vainly boasting of their interest with the 
Indians involved the country in great calamity, causing de- 
pendence to be placed where there was none." * For, with 
all their boast, they never could induce above thirty fighting 
men to join the camp, and not more than half of those ren- 
dered any service. 

As to the half-king, he expressed himself perfectly dis- 
gusted with the white man's mode of warfare. The French, 
he said, were cowards ; the English fools. Washington was 
a good man, but he wanted experience : he would not take 
advice of the Indians, and was always driving them to fight 
according to his own notions. For this reason he (the half- 
king) had carried off his wife and children to a place of 

After a time the chieftain fell dangerously ill, and a con- 
jurer or " medicine-man' ' was summoned to inquire into the 
cause or nature of his malady. He gave it as his opinion 
that the French had bewitched him, in revenge for the great 
blow he had struck them in the affair of Jumon ville ; for the 
Indians gave him the whole credit of that success, he having 
sent round the French scalps as trophies. In the opinion of 
the conjurer all the friends of the chieftain concurred, and, 
on his death, which took place shortly afterward, there was 
great lamentation mingled with threats of immediate ven- 
geance. The foregoing particulars are gathered from a let- 
ter written by John Harris, an Indian trader, to the Gover= 

* Letter to W. Fairfax, Aug. 11, 1754. 

248 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$tor) Irving 

nor of Pennsylvania, at the request of the half-king's friend 
and fellow sachem, Monacatoocha, otherwise called Scaroo- 
yadi. "I humbly presume," concludes John Harris, "that 
his death is a very great loss, especially at this critical 
time." * 


We have been thus particular in tracing the affair of the 
Great Meadows, step by step, guided by the statements of 
Washington himself and of one of his officers present in the 
engagement, because it is another of the events in the early 
stage of his military career, before the justice and magna- 
nimity of his character were sufficiently established, which 
has been subject to misrepresentation. When the articles of 
capitulation came to be correctly translated and published, 
there were passages in them derogatory to the honor of 
Washington and his troops, and which, it would seem, had 
purposely been inserted for their humiliation by the French 
commander; but which, they protested, had never been 
rightly translated by Van Braam. For instance, in the 
written articles, they were made to stipulate that, for the 
space of a year, they would not work on any establishment 
beyond the mountains; whereas it had been translated by 
Van Braam "on any establishment on the lands of the king 
of France ," which was quite another thing, as most of the 
land beyond the mountains was considered by them as be- 
longing to the British crown. There were other points, of 
minor importance, relative to the disposition of the artillery ; 
but the most startling and objectionable one was that con- 
cerning the previous skirmish in the Great Meadows. This 
was mentioned in the written articles as V assassinat du 
Sieur de Jumonville, that is to say, the murder of De 
Jumonville; an expression from which Washington and his 

* Pennsylvania Archives, vol. ii., p. 178. 

Cife of U/a8l?ii}$toi) 149 

officers would have revolted with scorn and indignation ; and 
which, if truly translated, would in all probability have 
caused the capitulation to be sent back instantly to the 
French commander. On the contrary, they declared it had 
been translated to them by Van Braam the death of De 

M. de Villiers, in his account of this transaction to the 
French government, avails 'himself of these passages in 
the capitulation to cast a slur on the conduct of Washington. 
He says, "We made the English consent to sign that they 
had assassinated my brother in his camp." — "We caused 
them to abandon the lands belonging to the king.— We 
obliged them to leave their cannon, which consisted of nine 
pieces," etc. He further adds: "The English, struck with 
panic, took to flight, and left their flag and one of their 
colors." We have shown that the flag left was the unwieldy 
one belonging to the fort; too cumbrous to be transported 
by troops who could not carry their own necessary baggage. 
The regimental colors, as honorable symbols, were scrupu- 
lously carried off by Washington, and retained by him in 
after years. 

M. de Villiers adds another incident intended to degrade 
his enemy. He says, "One of my Indians took ten English- 
men, whom he brought to me, and whom I sent back by 
another." These, doubtless, were the men detached by 
Washington in quest of the wounded loiterers; and who, 
understanding neither French nor Indian, found a difficulty 
in explaining their peaceful errand. That they were cap- 
tured by the Indian seems too much of a gasconade. 

The public opinion at the time was that Van Braam had 
been suborned by De Villiers to soften the offensive articles 
of the capitulation in translating them, so that they should 
not wound the pride now awaken the scruples of Washington 
and his officers, yet should stand on record against them. It 
is not probable that a French officer of De Villiers' rank 
would practice such a base perfidy, nor does the subsequent 
treatment experienced by Van Braam from the French 

160 UVorl^s of U/asl?lr>^tor> Irv/ii)$ 

corroborate the charge. It is more than probable the in- 
accuracy of translation originated in his ignorance of the 
precise weight and value of words in the two languages, 
neither of which was native to him, and between which he 
was the blundering agent of exchange. 


Founding of Fort Cumberland — Secret Letter of Stobo — The Indian 
Messenger — Project of Dinwiddie — His Perplexities — A Taint 
of Republicanism in the Colonial Assemblies — Dinwiddie's 
Military Measures — Washington quits the Service — Overtures 
of Governor Sharpe, of Maryland — Washington's dignified 
Reply — Questions of Rank between Royal and Provincial 
Troops — Treatment of the French Prisoners — Fate of La 
Force — Anecdotes of Stobo and Van Braam 

Early in August, Washington rejoined his regiment, 
which had arrived at Alexandria by the way of Winchester. 
Letters from Governor Dinwiddie urged him to recruit it to 
the former number of three hundred men, and join Colonel 
Innes at Wills' Creek, where that officer was stationed with 
Mackay's independent company of South Carolinians, and 
two independent companies from New York; and had been 
employed in erecting a work to serve as a frontier post and 
rallying point; which work received the name of Fort Cum- 
berland, in honor of the Duke of Cumberland, captain-gen- 
eral of the British army. 

In the meantime the French, elated by their recent tri- 
umph, and thinking no danger at hand, relaxed their vigi- 
lance at Fort Duquesne. Stobo, who was a kind of prisoner 
at large there, found means to send a letter secretly by an 

Cife of U/asl?ii}$toi} 151 

Indian, dated July 28, and directed to the commander of the 
English troops. It was accompanied by a plan of the fort. 
"There are two hundred men here," writes he, "and two 
hundred expected; the rest have gone off in detachments 
to the amount of one thousand, besides Indians. None lodge 
in the fort but Contrecoeur and the guard, consisting of forty 
men and five officers; the rest lodge in bark cabins around 
the fort. The Indians have access day and night, and come 
and go when they please. If one hundred trusty Shawnees, 
Mingoes and Delawares were picked out, they might surprise 
the fort, lodging themselves under the palisades by day, and 
at night secure the guard with their tomahawks, shut the 
sally-gate, and the fort is ours." 

One part of Stobo's letter breathes a loyal and generous 
spirit of self-devotion. Alluding to the danger in which he 
and Van Braam, his fellow-hostage, might be involved, he 
says: "Consider the good of the expedition without regard 
to us. When we engaged to serve the country it was ex- 
pected we were to do it with our lives. For my part, I 
would die a hundred deaths to have the pleasure of possess- 
ing this fort but one day. They are so vain of their success 
at the Meadows it is worse than death to hear them. Haste 
to strike."* 

The Indian messenger carried the letter to Aughquick 
and delivered it into the hands of George Croghan. The 
Indian chiefs who were with him insisted upon his opening 
it. He did so, but on finding the tenor of it transmitted it 
to the Governor of Pennsylvania. The secret information 
communicated by Stobo may have been the cause of a 
project suddenly conceived by Governor Dinwiddie, of 

* Hazard's Register of Penn., iv. 329. 

152 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irving 

a detachment which, by a forced march across the moun- 
tains, might descend upon the French and take Fort Du- 
quesne at a single blow ; or, failing that, might build a rival 
fort in its vicinity. He accordingly wrote to Washington 
to march forthwith for Wills' Creek, with such companies 
as were complete, leaving orders with the officers to follow 
as soon as they should have enlisted men sufficient to make 
up their companies. "The season of the year," added he, 
"calls for dispatch. I depend upon your usual diligence 
and spirit to encourage your people to be active on this 

The ignorance of Dinwiddie in military affairs, and his 
want of forecast, led him perpetually into blunders. Wash- 
ington saw the rashness of an attempt to dispossess the 
French with a force so inferior that it could be harassed and 
driven from place to place at their pleasure. Before the 
troops could be collected and munitions of war provided, the 
season would be too far advanced. There would be no for- 
age for the horses; the streams would be swollen and un- 
fordable; the mountains rendered impassable by snow, and 
frost, and slippery roads. The men, too, unused to cam- 
paigning on the frontier, would not be able to endure a 
winter in the wilderness, with no better shelter than a tent ; 
especially in their present condition, destitute of almost 
everything. Such are a few of the cogent reasons urged by 
Washington in a letter to his friend, William Fairfax, then 
in the House of Burgesses, which no doubt was shown to 
Governor Dinwiddie, and probably had an effect in causing 
the rash project to be abandoned. 

The governor, in truth, was sorely perplexed about this 
time by contradictions and cross- purposes, both in military 
and civil affairs. A body of three hundred and fifty North 

Cife of UfasfyvqtOT) 153 

Carolinian troops had been enlisted at high pay, and were to 
form the chief re-enforcement of Colonel Innes at Wills' 
Creek. By the time they reached Winchester, however, 
the provincial military chest was exhausted, and future pay 
seemed uncertain; whereupon they refused to serve any 
longer, disbanded themselves tumultuously and set off for 
their homes without taking leave. 

The governor found the House of Burgesses equally 
unmanageable. His demands for supplies were resisted on 
what he considered presumptuous pretexts; or granted spar- 
ingly, under mortifying restrictions. His high Tory notions 
were outraged by such republican conduct. " There appears 
to me," said he, "an infatuation in all the Assemblies in this 
part of the world." In a letter to the Board of Trade he 
declared that the only way effectually to check the progress 
of the French would be an act of Parliament requiring the 
colonies to contribute to the common cause, independently 
of Assemblies; and in another, to the Secretary of State, he 
urged the policy of compelling the colonies to their duty 
to the king by a general poll-tax of two and sixpence a head. 
The worthy governor would have made a fitting counselor 
for the Stuart dynasty. Subsequent events have shown how 
little his policy was suited to compete with the dawning 
republicanism of America. 

In the month of October the House of Burgesses made 
a grant of twenty thousand pounds for the public service; 
and ten thousand more were sent out from England, besides 
a supply of firearms. The governor now applied himself 
to military matters with renewed spirit ; increased the actual 
force to ten companies; and, as there had been difficulties 
among the different kinds of troops with regard to prece- 
dence, he reduced them all to independent companies; so 

154 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruin$ 

that there would be no officer in a Virginia regiment above 
the rank of captain. 

This shrewd measure, upon which Dinwiddie secretly- 
prided himself as calculated to put an end to the difficulties 
in question, immediately drove Washington out of the ser- 
vice ; considering it derogatory to his character to accept a 
lower commission than that under which his conduct had 
gained him a vote of thanks from the Legislature. 

Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, appointed by the king 
commander-in-chief of all the forces engaged against the 
French, sought to secure his valuable services, and author- 
ized Colonel Fitzhugh, whom he had placed in temporary 
command of the army, to write to him to that effect. The 
reply of Washington (15th November) is full of dignity and 
spirit, and shows how deeply he felt his military degrada- 

"You make mention," says he, "of my continuing in the 
service and retaining my colonel's commission. This idea 
has filled me with surprise ; for if you think me capable of 
holding a commission that has neither rank nor emolument 
annexed to it, you must maintain a very contemptible opinion 
of my weakness, and believe me more empty than the com- 
mission itself." After intimating a suspicion that the proj- 
ect of reducing the regiment into independent companies, 
and thereby throwing out the higher officers, was "generated 
and hatched at Wills' Creek" — in other words, was an expe- 
dient of Governor Dinwiddie, instead of being a peremptory 
order from England, he adds, "Ingenuous treatment and 
plain dealing I at least expected. It is to be hoped the proj- 
ect will answer; it shall meet my acquiescence in everything 
except personal services. I herewith inclose Governor 
Sharpe 's letter, which I beg you will return to him with 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$toi> 155 

my acknowledgments for the favor he intended me. As- 
sure him, sir, as you truly may, of my reluctance to quit the 
service, and the pleasure I should have received in attending 
his fortunes. Inform him, also, that it was to obey the call 
of honor and the advice of my friends that I declined it, and 
not to gratify any desire I had to leave the military line. My 
feelings are strongly bent to arms." 

Even had Washington hesitated to take this step, it would 
have been forced upon him by a further regulation of govern- 
ment, in the course of the ensuing winter, settling the rank 
of officers of his majesty's forces when joined or serving with 
the provincial forces in North America, "which directed that 
all such as were commissioned by the king, or by his general 
commander-in-chief in North America, should take rank of 
all officers commissioned by the governors of the respective 
provinces. And further, that the general and field officers 
of the provincial troops should have no rank when serving 
with the general and field officers commissioned by the 
crown ; but that all captains and other inferior officers of 
the royal troops should take rank over provincial officers 
of the same grade, having older commissions.' ' 

These regulations, originating in that supercilious assump- 
tion of superiority which sometimes overruns and degrades 
true British pride, would have been spurned by Washington 
as insulting to the character and conduct of his high-minded 
brethren of the colonies. How much did this open disparage- 
ment of colonial honor and understanding contribute to wean 
from England the affection of her American subjects, and 
prepare the way for their ultimate assertion of independ- 

Another cause of vexation to Washington was the refusal 
of Governor Dinwiddie to give up the French prisoners, 

156 U/orl^s of U/astyn^tOQ In/ir?$ 

taken in the affair of De Jumonville, in fulfillment of the 
articles of capitulation. His plea was that, since the capitu- 
lation, the French had taken several British subjects, and 
sent them prisoners to Canada, he considered himself justifi- 
able in detaining those Frenchmen which he had in his cus- 
tody. He sent a flag of truce, however, offering to return 
the officer Drouillon, and the two cadets, in exchange for 
Captain Stobo and Van Braam, whom the French held as 
hostages; bat his offer was treated with merited disregard. 
Washington felt deeply mortified by this obtuseness of the 
governor on a point of military punctilio and honorable faith, 
but his remonstrances were unavailing. 

The French prisoners were clothed and maintained at the 
public expense, and Drouillon and the cadets were allowed 
to go at large ; the private soldiers were kept in confinement. 
La Force, also, not having acted in a military capacity, and 
having offended against the peace and security of the fron- 
tier, by his intrigues among the Indians, was kept in close 
durance. Washington, who knew nothing of this, was 
shocked, on visiting Williamsburg, to learn that La Force 
was in prison. He expostulated with the governor on the 
subject, but without effect; Dinwiddie was at all times per- 
tinacious, but particularly so when he felt himself to be a 
little in the wrong. 

As we shall have no further occasion to mention La 
Force, in connection with the subject of this work, we will 
anticipate a page of his fortunes. After remaining two 
years in confinement he succeeded in breaking out of prison 
and escaping into the country. An alarm was given, and 
circulated far and wide, for such was the opinion of his per- 
sonal strength, desperate courage, wily cunning, and great 
influence over the Indians, that the most mischievous results 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 157 

were apprehended should he regain the frontier. In the 
meantime he was wandering about the country, ignorant of 
the roads, and fearing to make inquiries, lest his foreign 
tongue should betray him. He reached King and Queen 
Court House, about thirty miles from Williamsburg, when 
a countryman was struck with his foreign air and aspect. 
La Force ventured to put a question as to the distance and 
direction of Fort Duquesne, and his broken English con- 
vinced the countryman of his being the French prisoner, 
whose escape had been noised about the country. "Watch- 
ing an opportunity he seized him, and regardless of offers of 
great bribes, conducted him back to the prison of "Williams- 
burg, where he was secured with double irons, and chained 
to the floor of his dungeon. 

The refusal of Governor Dinwiddie to fulfill the article of 
the capitulation respecting the prisoners, and the rigorous 
treatment of La Force, operated hardly upon the hostages, 
Stobo and Van Braam, who, in retaliation, were confined 
in prison in Quebec, though otherwise treated with kindness. 
They also, by extraordinary efforts, succeeded in breaking 
prison, but found it more difficult to evade the sentries of 
a fortified place. Stobo managed to escape into the country; 
but the luckless Van Braam sought concealment under an 
arch of a causeway leading from the fortress. Here he re- 
mained until nearly exhausted by hunger. Seeing the Gov- 
ernor of Canada passing by, and despairing of being able to 
effect his escape, he came forth from his hiding-place, and 
surrendered himself, invoking his clemency. He was re- 
manded to prison, but experienced no additional severity. 
He was subsequently shipped by the governor from Quebec 
to England, and never returned to^Virginia. It is this treat- 
ment of Van Braam, more than anything else, which con- 

158 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^toi) Iruir?^ 

vinces us that the suspicion of his being in collusion with the 
French, in regard to the misinterpretation of the articles of 
capitulation, was groundless. He was simply a blunderer. 


Return to quiet Life — French and English prepare for Hostilities — 
Plan of a Campaign — General Braddock — His Character — Sir 
John St. Clair, Quartermaster-general — His Tour of Inspec- 
tion — Projected Roads — Arrival of Braddock — Military Consul- 
tations and Plans — Commodore Keppel and his Seamen — Ships 
and Troops at Alexandria — Excitement of Washington— In- 
vited to join the Staff of Braddock — A Mother's Objections — 
Washington at Alexandria— Grand Council of Governors — 
Military Arrangements — Colonel William Johnson — Sir John 
St. Clair at Fort Cumberland — His Explosions of Wrath — Their 
Effects — Indians to be enlisted — Captain Jack and his Band of 

Having resigned his commission, and disengaged himself 
from public affairs, Washington's first care was to visit his 
mother, inquire into the state of domestic concerns, and 
attend to the welfare of his brothers and sisters. In these 
matters he was ever his mother's adjunct and counselor, dis- 
charging faithfully the duties of an eldest son, who should 
consider himself a second father to the family. 

He now took up his abode at Mount Vernon, and pre- 
pared to engage in those agricultural pursuits for which, 
even in his youthful days, he had as keen a relish as for the 
profession of arms. Scarcely had he entered upon his rural 
occupations, however, when the service of his country once 
more called him to the field. 

Cife of \Uaz\)iT)$tOT) 159 

The disastrous affair at Great Meadows, and the other 
acts of French hostility on the Ohio, had aroused the atten- 
tion of the British ministry. Their embassador at Paris was 
instructed to complain of those violations of the peace. The 
court of Versailles amused him with general assurances of 
amity, and a strict adherence to treaties. Their embassador 
at the Court of St. James, the Marquis de Mirepoix, on the 
faith of his instructions, gave the same assurances. In the 
meantime, however, French ships were fitted out, and troops 
embarked, to carry out the schemes of the government in 
America. So profound was the dissimulation of the court 
of Versailles that even their own embassador is said to have 
been kept in ignorance of their real designs, and of the hostile 
game they were playing, while he was exerting himself, in 
good faith, to lull the suspicions of England and maintain 
the international peace. When his eyes, however, were 
opened, he returned indignantly to France, and upbraided 
the cabinet with the duplicity of which he had been made 
the unconscious instrument. 

The British government now prepared for military opera- 
tions in America; none of them professedly aggressive, but 
rather to resist and counteract aggressions. A plan of cam- 
paign was devised for 1755, having four objects. 

To eject the French from lands which they held un- 
justly, in the province of Nova Scotia. 

To dislodge them from a fortress which they had erected 
at Crown Point, on Lake Champlain, within what was 
claimed as British territory. 

To dispossess them of the fort which they had constructed 
at Niagara, between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. 

To drive them from the frontiers of Pennsylvania and 
Virginia, and recover the Valley of the Ohio. 

160 U/orl^s of U/asl?iQ$toi) Irvino; 

The Duke of Cumberland, captain-general of the British 
army, had the organization of this campaign; and through 
his patronage, Major-general Edward Braddock was intrusted 
with the execution of it, being appointed generalissimo of all 
the forces in the colonies. 

Braddock was a veteran in service, and had been upward 
of forty years in the Guards, that school of exact discipline 
and technical punctilio. Cumberland, who held a commis- 
sion in the Guards, and was bigoted to its routine, may have 
considered Braddock fitted, by his skill and preciseness as a 
tactician, for a command in a new country, inexperienced in 
military science, to bring its raw levies into order, and to 
settle those questions of rank and etiquette apt to arise where 
regular and provincial troops are to act together. 

The result proved the error of such an opinion. Brad- 
dock was a brave and experienced officer; but his experience 
was that of routine, and rendered him pragmatical and 
obstinate, impatient of novel expedients "not laid down in 
the books," but dictated by emergencies in a "new coun- 
try," and his military precision, which would have been 
brilliant on parade, was a constant obstacle to alert action 
in the wilderness.* 

* Horace Walpole, in his letters, relates some anecdotes 
of Braddock, which give a familiar picture of him in the 
fashionable life in which he had mingled in London, and are 
of value, as letting us into the private character of a man 
whose name has become proverbial in American history. 
"Braddock," says Walpole, "is a very Iroquois in disposi- 
tion. He had a sister who, having gamed away all her little 
fortune at Bath, hanged herself with a truly English delibera- 
tion, leaving a note on the table with these lines: 'To die is 
landing on some silent shore, ' etc. When Braddock was told 
of it, he only said: 'Poor Fanny! I always thought she 
would play till she would be forced to tuck herself up.' " 

Braddock himself had been somewhat of a spendthrift. 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) 161 

Braddock was to lead in person the grand enterprise of 
the campaign, that destined for the frontiers of Virginia and 
Pennsylvania; it was the enterprise in which Washington 
became enlisted, and, therefore, claims our special attention. 

Prior to the arrival of Braddock, came out from England 
Lieutenant-colonel Sir John St. Clair, deputy quartermaster- 
general, eager to make himself acquainted with the field of 
operations. He made a tour of inspection, in company with 
Governor Sharpe, of Maryland, and appears to have been 
dismayed at sight of the impracticable wilderness, the re- 
gion of Washington's campaign. From Fort Cumberland, 
he wrote in February to Governor Morris, of Pennsylvania, 
to have the road cut or repaired toward the head of the 
river Youghiogeny, and another opened from Philadelphia 
for the transportation of supplies. "No general," writes he, 
"will advance with any army without having a communica- 
tion open to the provinces in his rear, both for the security 
of retreat, and to facilitate the transport of provisions, the 
supplying of which must greatly depend on your province." * 

Unfortunately, the Governor of Pennsylvania had no 
money at his command, and was obliged, for expenses, to 
apply to his Assembly, "a set of men," writes he, "quite 
unacquainted with every kind of military service, and ex- 
ceedingly unwilling to part with money on any terms." 

He was touchy, also, and punctilious. "He once had a 
duel," says Walpole, "with Colonel Glumley, Lady Bath's 
brother, who had been his great friend. As they were going 
to engage, Glumley, who had good humor and wit (Brad- 
dock had the latter) said: 'Braddock, you are a poor dog! 
here, take my purse ; if you kill me you will be forced to run 
away, and then you will not have a shilling to support you. ' 
Braddock refused the purse, insisted on the duel, was dig- 
armed, and would not even ask for his life." 
* Colonial Records, vi. 300. 

162 U/or^s of U/as^ip^too lr\jir)$ 

However, by dint of exertions, he procured the appointment 
of commissioners to explore the country and survey and lay 
out the roads required. At the head of the commission was 
George Croghan, the Indian trader, whose mission to the 
Twightwees we have already spoken of. Times had gone 
hard with Croghan. The French had seized great quantities 
of his goods. The Indians, with whom he traded, had failed 
to pay their debts, and he had become a bankrupt. Being 
an efficient agent on the frontier and among the Indians, he 
still enjoyed the patronage of the Pennsylvania government. 

When Sir John St. Clair had finished his tour of inspec- 
tion, he descended "Wills' Creek and the Potomac for two 
hundred miles in a canoe to Alexandria, and repaired to 
Virginia to meet General Braddock. The latter had landed 
on the 20th of February at Hampton, in Virginia, and pro- 
ceeded to Williamsburg to consult with Governor Dinwiddie. 
Shortly afterward he was joined there by Commodore Kep- 
pel, whose squadron of two ships-of-war and several trans- 
ports had anchored in the Chesapeake. On board of these 
ships were two prime regiments of about five hundred men 
each; one commanded by Sir Peter Halket, the other by 
Colonel Dunbar; together with a train of artillery and the 
necessary munitions of war. The regiments were to be aug- 
mented to seven hundred men each, by men selected by Sir 
John St. Clair from Virginia companies recently raised. 

Alexandria was fixed upon as the place where the troops 
should disembark and encamp. The ships were accordingly 
ordered up to that place, and the levies directed to repair 

The plan of the campaign included the use of Indian 
allies. Governor Dinwiddie had already sent Christopher 
Gist, the pioneer, Washington's guide in 1753, to engage 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi? 163 

the Cherokees and Catawbas, the bravest of the southern 
tribes, who, he had no doubt, would take up the hatchet for 
the English, peace being first concluded, through the media- 
tion of his government, between them and the Six Nations; 
and he gave Braddock reason to expect at least four hundred 
Indians to join him at Fort Cumberland. He laid before 
him, also, contracts that he had made for cattle, and prom- 
ises that the Assembly of Pennsylvania had made of flour; 
these, with other supplies, and a thousand barrels of beef on 
board of the transports, would furnish six months' provisions 
for four thousand men. 

General Braddock apprehended difficulty in procuring 
wagons and horses sufficient to attend him in his march. 
Sir John St. Clair, in the course of his tour of inspection, 
had met with two Dutch settlers at the foot of the Blue 
Ridge, who engaged to furnish two hundred wagons and 
fifteen hundred carrying horses, to be at Fort Cumberland 
early in May. 

Governor Sharpe was to furnish above a hundred wagons 
for the transportation of stores, on the Maryland side of the 

Keppel furnished four cannon from his ships for the at- 
tack on Fort Duquesne, and thirty picked seamen to assist 
in dragging them over the mountains; for "soldiers," said 
he, "cannot be as well acquainted with the nature of pur- 
chases and making use of tackle as seamen." They were to 
aid also in passing the troops and artillery on floats or in 
boats across the rivers, and were under the command of a 
midshipman and lieutenant.* 

"Everything," writes Captain Robert Orme, one of the 

* Keppel's Life of Keppel, p. 205. 

164 U/orks of U/asl?ii?<$toi) Irvir?<$ 

general's aides-de-camp, u seemed to promise so far the great- 
est success. The transports all arrived safe, and the men in 
health. Provisions, Indians, carriages and horses were al- 
ready provided ; at least, were to be esteemed so, consider- 
ing the authorities on which they were promised to the 

Trusting to these arrangements, Braddock proceeded to 
Alexandria, The troops had all been disembarked before 
his arrival, and the Virginia levies, selected by Sir John St. 
Clair to join the regiments of regulars, were arrived. There 
were, besides, two companies of hatchet men, or carpenters; 
six of rangers, and one troop of light horse. The levies, 
having been clothed, were ordered to march immediately for 
Winchester, to be armed, and the general gave them in 
charge of an ensign of the 44th, "to make them as like sol- 
diers as possible." * The light horse were retained by the 
general as his escort and body guard. 

The din and stir of warlike preparation disturbed the 
quiet of Mount Vernon. Washington looked down from his 
rural retreat upon the ships of war and transports, as they 
passed up the Potomac, with the array of arms gleaming 
along their decks. The booming of cannon echoed among 
his groves. Alexandria was but a few miles distant. Occa • 
sionally he mounted his horse and rode to that place; it was 
like a garrisoned town, teeming with troops and resounding 
with the drum and fife. A brilliant campaign was about to 
open under the auspices of an experienced general, and with 
all the means and appurtenances of European warfare. How 
different from the starveling expeditions he had hitherto been 
doomed to conduct ! What an opportunity to efface the mem- 

* Orme's Journal. 

Cife of \Uastyr>qtOT) 165 

ory of his recent disaster ! A 11 his thoughts of rural life were 
put to flight. The military part of his character was again 
in the ascendant; his great desire was to join the expedition 
as a volunteer. 

It was reported to General Braddock. The latter was 
apprised, by Governor Dinwiddie and others, of Washing- 
ton's personal merits, his knowledge of the country, and his 
experience in frontier service. The consequence was, a let- 
ter from Captain Robert Orme, one of Braddock's aides-de- 
camp, written by the general's order, inviting Washington 
to join his staff; the letter concluded with frank and cordial 
expressions of esteem on the part of Orme, which were 
warmly reciprocated, and laid the foundation of a soldier- 
like friendship between them. 

A volunteer situation on the staff of General Braddock 
offered no emolument nor command, and would be attended 
with considerable expense, besides a sacrifice in his private 
interests, having no person in whom he had confidence to 
take charge of his affairs in his absence; still he did not 
hesitate a moment to accept the invitation. In the position 
offered to him, all the questions of military rank, which had 
hitherto annoyed him, would be obviated. He could indulge 
his passion for arms without any sacrifice of dignity, and he 
looked forward with high anticipation to an opportunity of 
acquiring military experience in a corps well organized and 
thoroughly disciplined, and in the family of a commander of 
acknowledged skill as a tactician. 

His mother heard with concern of another projected ex- 
pedition into the wilderness. Hurrying to Mount Vernon, 
she entreated him not again to expose himself to the hard- 
ships and perils of these frontier campaigns. She doubtless 
felt the value of his presence at home, to manage and pro- 

166 U/orl^s of \l/astyr)$tOT) IruiQO" 

tect the complicated interests of the domestic connection, 
and had watched with solicitude over his adventurous cam- 
paigning, where so much family welfare was at hazard. 
However much a mother's pride may have been gratified 
by his early advancement and renown, she had rejoiced on 
his return to the safer walks of peaceful life. She was thor- 
oughly practical and prosaic in her notions, and not to be 
dazzled by military glory. The passion for arms, which 
mingled with the more sober elements of Washington's 
character, would seem to have been inherited from his 
father's side of the house; it was, in fact, the old chival- 
rous spirit of the De Wessyngtons. 

His mother had once prevented him from entering the 
navy, when a gallant frigate was at hand, anchored in the 
waters of the Potomac ; with all his deference for her, which 
he retained through life, he could not resist the appeal to his 
martial sympathies which called him to the headquarters of 
General Braddock at Alexandria. 

His arrival was hailed by his young associates, Captains 
Orme and Morris, the general's aides-de-camp, who at once 
received him into frank companionship, and a cordial inti- 
macy commenced between them that continued throughout 
the campaign. 

He experienced a courteous reception from the general, 
who expressed in flattering terms the impression he had re- 
ceived of his merits. Washington soon appreciated the char- 
acter of the general. He found him stately and somewhat 
haughty, exact in matters of military etiquette and disci- 
pline, positive in giving an opinion, and obstinate in main- 
taining it ; but of an honorable and generous, though some- 
what irritable, nature. 

There were at that time four governors, besides Din- 

Cife of U/asl?ip^top 167 

widdie, assembled at Alexandria, at Braddock's request, to 
concert a plan of military operations: Governor Shirley, 
of Massachusetts; Lieutenant-governor Delancey, of New 
York; Lieutenant-governor Sharpe, of Maryland; Lieu- 
tenant - governor Morris, of Pennsylvania. Washington 
was presented to them in a manner that showed how 
well his merits were already appreciated. Shirley seems 
particularly to have struck him as the model of a gentle- 
man and statesman. He was originally a lawyer, and had 
risen not more by his talents than by his implicit devotion 
to the crown. His son William was military secretary to 

A grand council was held on the 14th of April, composed 
of General Braddock, Commodore Keppel and the governors, 
at which the general's commission was read, as were his in- 
structions from the king, relating to a common fund, to be 
established by the several colonies, toward defraying the ex- 
penses of the campaign. 

The governors were prepared to answer on this head, let- 
ters to the same purport having been addressed to them by 
Sir Thomas Robinson, one of the king's secretaries of state, 
in the preceding month of October. They informed Brad- 
dock that they had applied to their respective Assemblies for 
the establishment of such a fund, but in vain, and gave it as 
their unanimous opinion that such a fund could never be 
established in the colonies without the aid of Parliament. 
They had found it impracticable, also, to obtain from their 
respective governments the proportions expected from them 
by the crown toward military expenses in America ; and sug- 
gested that ministers should find out some mode of compell- 
ing them to do it; and that, in the meantime, the general 
should make use of his credit upon government for cur- 

168 U/or^s of U/asl?ii}$too Iruii)<$ 

rent expenses, lest the expedition should come to a 
stand. * 

In discussing the campaign, the governors were of opin- 
ion that New York should be made the center of operations, 
as it afforded easy access by water to the heart of the French 
possessions in Canada. Braddock, however, did not feel at 
liberty to depart from his instructions, which specified the 
recent establishments of the French on the Ohio as the ob- 
jects of his expedition. 

Niagara and Crown Point were to be attacked about the 
same time with Fort Duquesne, the former by Governor 
Shirley, with his own and Sir William Pepperell's regiments, 
and some New York companies ; the latter by Colonel Wil- 
liam Johnson, sole manager and director of Indian affairs — 
a personage worthy of especial note. 

He was a native of Ireland, and had come out to this 
country in 1734, to manage the landed estates owned by his 
uncle, Commodore Sir Peter Warren, in the Mohawk coun- 
try. He had resided ever since in the vicinity of the Mo- 
hawk River, in the province of New York. By his agency 
and his dealings with the native tribes he had acquired great 
wealth and become a kind of potentate in the Indian coun- 
try. His influence over the Six Nations was said to be un- 
bounded ; and it was principally with the aid of a large force 
of their warriors that it was expected he would accomplish 
his part of the campaign. The end of June, "nearly in 
July," was fixed upon as the time when the several attacks 
upon Forts Duquesne, Niagara and Crown Point should be 
carried into execution, and Braddock anticipated an easy 
accomplishment of his plans. 

* Colonial Records, vol, vi., p. 366. 

Cife of U/asl?ir?<$too 169 

The expulsion of the French from the lands wrongfully 
held by them in Nova Scotia was to be assigned to Colonel 
Lawrence, lieutenant-governor of that province; we will 
briefly add, in anticipation, that it was effected by him, with 
the aid of troops from Massachusetts and elsewhere, led by 
Lieutenant- colonel Monckfcon. 

The business of the Congress being finished, General 
Braddock would have set out for Fredericktown, in Mary- 
land, but few wagons or teams had yet come to remove the 
artillery. Washington had looked with wonder and dismay 
at the huge paraphernalia of war, and the world of superflu- 
ities to be transported across the mountains, recollecting the 
difficulties he had experienced in getting over them with his 
nine swivels and scanty supplies. "If our march is to be 
regulated by the slow movements of the train," said he, "it 
will be tedious, very tedious, indeed." 

His predictions excited a sarcastic smile in Braddock, as 
betraying the limited notions of a young provincial officer, 
little acquainted with the march of armies. 

In the meanwhile Sir John St. Clair, who had returned 
to the frontier, was storming at the camp at Fort Cumber- 
land. The road required of the Pennsylvania government 
had not been commenced. George Croghan and the other 
commissioners were but just arrived in camp. Sir John, 
according to Croghan, received them in a very disagreeable 
manner; would not look at their draughts, nor suffer any 
representations to be made to him in regard to the province, 
"but stormed like a lion rampant"; declaring that the want 
of the road and of the provisions promised by Pennsylvania 
had retarded the expedition and might cost them their lives, 
from the fresh numbers of French that might be poured into 
the country. — "That, instead of marching to the Ohio, he 

* * * h— Vol. XII. 

170 U/or^s of WaetyvqtOT) Iruir;$ 

would in nine days march his army into Cumberland County 
to cut the roads, press horses, wagons, etc. That he would 
not suffer a soldier to handle an ax, but by fire and sword 
oblige the inhabitants to do it. . . . That he would kill all 
kinds of cattle, and carry away the horses, burn the houses, 
etc. ; and that if the French defeated them, by the delays of 
Pennsylvania, he would, with his sword drawn, pass through 
the province and treat the inhabitants as a parcel of traitors 
to his master. That he would write to England by a man- 
of-war; shake Mr. Penn's proprietaryship, and represent 
Pennsylvania as a disaffected province. . . . He told us 
to go to the general, if we pleased, who would give us ten 
bad words f 'or one that he had given." 

The explosive wrath of Sir John, which was not to be 
appeased, shook the souls of the commissioners, and they 
wrote to Governor Morris, urging that people might be set 
at work upon the road, if the Assembly had made provision 
for opening it; and that flour might be sent without delay 
to the mouth of Canococheague River, "as being the only 
remedy left to prevent these threatened mischief s." * 

In reply, Mr. Richard Peters, Governor Morris's secre- 
tary, wrote in his name: " Get a number of hands imme- 
diately, and further the work by all possible methods. Your 
expenses will be paid at the next sitting of Assembly. Do 
your duty, and oblige the general and quartermaster if pos- 
sible. Finish the road that will be wanted first, and then 
proceed to any other that may be thought necessary." 

An additional commission, of a different kind, was in- 
trusted to George Croghan. Governor Morris by letter 
requested him to convene at Aughquick, in Pennsylvania, 

* Colonial Records, vol. vi., p. 368. 

Cife of U/asfyr^top 171 

as many warriors as possible of the mixed tribes of the Ohio, 
distribute among them wampum belts sent for the purpose, 
and engage them to meet General Braddock when on the 
march, and render him all the assistance in their power. 

In reply, Croghan engaged to enlist a strong body of In- 
dians, being sure of the influence of Scarooyadi, successor to 
the half -king, and of his adjunct, White Thunder, keeper 
of the speech-belts.* At the instance of Governor Morris, 
Croghan secured the services of another kind of force. This 
was a band of hunters, resolute men, well acquainted with 
the country and inured to hardships. They were under the 
command of Captain Jack, one of the most remarkable char- 
acters of Pennsylvania; a complete hero of the wilderness. 
He had been for many years a captive among the Indians, 
and, having learned their ways, had formed this association 
for the protection of the settlements, receiving a commission 
of captain from the Governor of Pennsylvania. The band 
had become famous for its exploits, and was a terror to the 
Indians. Captain Jack was at present protecting the settle- 
ments on the Canococheague ; but promised to march by a 
circuitous route and join Braddock with his hunters. "They 
require no shelter for the night,' ' writes Croghan; "they ask 
no pay. If the whole army was composed of such men there 
would be no cause of apprehension. I shall be with them in 
time for duty." f 


The following extract of a letter, dated August, 1750, 
gives one of the stories relative to this individual : 

4 'The 'Black Hunter/ the 'Black Rifle,' the 'Wild Hunter 

* Colonial Records, vol. vi., p. 375. 

f Hazard's Register of Penn., vol. iv., p. 416. 

172 U/orKs of U/a8l?ir)$toi) Iruir>^ 

of Juniata,' is a white man; his history is this: He entered 
the woods with a few enterprising companions ; built his cab- 
in ; cleared a little land, and amused himself with the pleas- 
ures of fishing and hunting. He felt happy, for then he had 
not a care. But on an evening, when he returned from a 
day of sport, he found his cabin burned, his wife and chil- 
dren murdered. From that moment he forsakes civilized 
man ; hunts out caves, in which he lives ; protects the fron- 
tier inhabitants from the Indians, and seizes every opportu- 
nity of revenge that offers. He lives the terror of the In- 
dians and the consolation of the whites. On one occasion, 
near Juniata, in the middle of a dark night, a family were 
suddenly awaked from sleep by the report of a gun; they 
jumped from their huts, and by the glimmering light from 
the chimney saw an Indian fall to rise no more. The open 
door exposed to view the wild hunter. 'I have saved your 
lives,' he cried, then turned and was buried in the gloom of 
night." — Hazard's Register of Penn., vol. iv., p. 389. 


Washington proclaimed Aid-de-camp — Disappointments at Fred- 
ericktown — Benjamin Franklin and Braddock — Contracts — 
Departure for Wills' Creek — Rough Roads — The General in his 
Chariot — Camp at Fort Cumberland — Hugh Mercer — Dr. 
Craik — Military Tactics — Camp Rules — Secretary Peters — In- 
dians in Carnp — Indian Beauties — The Princess Bright Light- 
ning — Errand to Williamsburg — Braddock's Opinion of Con- 
tractors and Indians — Arrival of Conveyances 

General Braddock set out from Alexandria on the 
20th of April. Washington remained behind a few days to 
arrange his affairs, and then rejoined him at Fredericktown, 
in Maryland, where, on the 10th of May, he was proclaimed 

Cife of U/a8f?iD<$toi? 173 

one of the general's aides-de-camp. The troubles of Brad- 
dock had already commenced. The Virginian contractors 
failed to fulfill their engagements ; of all the immense means 
of transportation so confidently promised, but fifteen wagons 
and a hundred draft-horses had arrived, and there was no 
prospect of more. There was equal disappointment in pro- 
visions, both as to quantity and quality, and he had to send 
round the country to buy cattle for the subsistence of the 

Fortunately, while the general was venting his spleen 
in anathemas against army contractors, Benjamin Franklin 
arrived at Fredericktown. That eminent man, then about 
forty-nine years of age, had been for many years member 
of the Pennsylvania Assembly, and was now postmaster- 
general for America. The Assembly understood that Brad- 
dock was incensed against them, supposing them adverse to 
the service of the war. They had procured Franklin to wait 
upon him, not as if sent by them, but as if he came in his 
capacity of postmaster-general, to arrange for the sure and 
speedy transmission of dispatches between the commander- 
in-chief and the governors of the provinces. 

He was well received, and became a daily guest at the 
general's table. In his autobiography, he gives us an in- 
stance of the blind confidence and fatal prejudices by which 
Braddock was deluded throughout this expedition. "In 
conversation with him one day," writes Franklin, "he was 
giving me some account of his intended progress. 'After 
taking Fort Duquesne,' said he, 'I am to proceed to Ni- 
agara; and having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season 
will allow time; and I suppose it will, for Duquesne can 
hardly detain me above three or four days : and then I can 
see nothing that can obstruct my march to Niagara.' 

174 U/orl^s of U/a8f?io$tor) Irvir>$ 

"Having before evolved in my mind," continues Frank- 
lin, "the long line his army must make in their march by a 
very narrow road, to be cut for them through the woods and 
bushes, and also what I had heard of a former defeat of fif- 
teen hundred French, who invaded the Illinois country, I 
had conceived some doubts and some fears for the event of 
the campaign; but I ventured only to say, 'To be sure, sir, 
if you arrive well before Duquesne with these fine troops, 
so well provided with artillery, the fort, though completely 
fortified and assisted with a very strong garrison, can prob- 
ably make but a short resistance. The only danger I appre- 
hend of obstruction to your march is from the ambuscades 
of the Indians, who, by constant practice, are dexterous in 
laying and executing them ; and the slender line, nearly four 
miles long, which your army must make, may expose it to 
be attacked by surprise on its flanks, and to be cut like thread 
into several pieces, which, from their distance, cannot come 
up in time to support one another.' 

' ' He smiled at my ignorance, and replied : ' These sav- 
ages may indeed be a formidable enemy to raw American 
militia, but upon the king's regular and disciplined troops, 
sir, it is impossible they should make an impression. ' I was 
conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a military 
man in matters of his profession, and said no more." * 

As the whole delay of the army was caused by the want 
of conveyances, Franklin observed one day to the general 
that it was a pity the troops had not been landed in Pennsyl- 
vania, where almost every farmer had his wagon. "Then, 
sir," replied Braddock, "you, who are a man of interest 
there, can probably procure them for me, and I beg you 

* Autobiography of Franklin. Spark's Edition, p. 190. 

Cife of U/asbin^ton 175 

will." Franklin consented. An instrument in writing was 
drawn up, empowering him to contract for one hundred and 
fifty wagons with four horses to each wagon, and fifteen 
hundred saddle or pack-horses for the service of his Maj- 
esty's forces, to be at Wills' Creek on or before the 20th of 
May, and he promptly departed for Lancaster to execute the 

After his departure, Braddock, attended by his staff and 
his guard of light horse, set off for Wills' Creek by the way 
of Winchester, the road along the north side of the Potomac 
not being yet made. "This gave him," writes Washington, 
"a good opportunity to see the absurdity of the route, and of 
damning it very heartily."* 

Three of Washington's horses were knocked up before 
they reached Winchester, and he had to purchase others. 
This was a severe drain of his campaigning purse; fortu- 
nately he was in the neighborhood of Greenway Court, and 
was enabled to replenish it by a loan from his old friend 
Lord Fairfax. 

The discomforts of the rough road were increased with 
the general, by his traveling with some degree of state in a 
chariot which he had purchased of Governor Sharpe. In 
this he dashed by Dunbar's division of the troops, which he 
overtook near Wills' Creek; his bodyguard of light horse 
galloping on each side of his chariot, and his staff accom- 
panying him ; the drums beating the Grenadiers' March as 
he passed. In this style, too, he arrived at Fort Cumber- 
land, amid a thundering salute of seventeen guns.f 

* Draft of a letter, among Washington's papers, ad- 
dressed to Major John Carlyle. 

f Journal of the Seamen's detachment. 

176 U/orKs of U/asl?iD<$i:on In/1170; 

By this time the general discovered that he was not in 
a region fitted for such display, and his traveling chariot 
was abandoned at Port Cumberland; otherwise it would 
soon have become a wreck among the mountains beyond. 

By the 19th of May the forces were assembled at Fort 
Cumberland. The two royal regiments, originally one thou- 
sand strong, now increased to fourteen hundred, by men 
chosen from the Maryland and Virginia levies. Two pro- 
vincial companies of carpenters, or pioneers, thirty men each, 
with subalterns and captains. A company of guides, com- 
posed of a captain, two aides, and ten men. The troop of 
Virginia light horse, commanded by Captain Stewart; the 
detachment of thirty sailors with their officers, and the rem- 
nants of two independent companies from New York, one of 
which was commanded by Captain Horatio Gates, of whom 
we shall have to speak much hereafter in the course of this 

Another person in camp, of subsequent notoriety, and 
who became a warm friend of Washington, was Dr. Hugh 
Mercer, a Scotchman, about thirty-three years of age. 
About ten years previously he had served as assistant sur- 
geon in the forces of Charles Edward, and followed his 
standard to the disastrous field of -Culloden. After the de- 
feat of the " chevalier," Mercer had escaped by the way of 
Inverness to America, and taken up his residence in Vir- 
ginia. He was now with the Virginia troops, rallying un- 
der the standard of the House of Hanover, in an expedition 
led by a general who had aided to drive the chevalier from 

* Braddock had been an officer under the Duke of Cum- 
berland, in his campaign against Charles Edward. 

Cife of U/asl?in$ton 177 

Another young Scotchman in the camp was Dr. James 
Craik, who had become strongly attached to Washington, 
being about the same age, and having been with him in the 
affair of the Great Meadows, serving as surgeon in the Vir- 
ginia regiment to which he still belonged. 

At Fort Cumberland Washington had an opportunity of 
seeing a force encamped according to the plan approved of 
by the council of war, and military tactics enforced with all 
the precision of a martinet. 

The roll of each company was called over morning, noon 
and night. There was strict examination of arms and ac- 
couterments ; the commanding officer of each company being 
answerable for their being kept in good order. 

The general was very particular in regard to the appear- 
ance and drill of the Virginia recruits and companies, whom 
he had put under the rigorous discipline of Ensign Allen. 
"They performed their evolutions and firings as well as 
could be expected," writes Captain Orme, "but their lan- 
guid, spiritless, and unsoldier-like appearance, considered 
with the lowness and ignorance of most of their officers, 
gave little hopes of their future good behavior."* He 
doubtless echoed the opinion of the general; how com- 
pletely were both to be undeceived as to their estimate of 
these troops! 

The general held a levee in his tent every morning, from 
ten to eleven. He was strict as to the morals of the camp. 
Drunkenness was severely punished. A soldier convicted of 
theft was sentenced to receive one thousand lashes, and to 
be drummed out of his regiment. Part of the first part of 
the sentence was remitted. Divine service was performed 

* Orme's Journal. 

178 U/orl^s of Was\)\T)QtoT) Iruir?$ 

every Sunday, at the head of the colors of each regiment, by 
the chaplain. There was the funeral of a captain who died 
at this encampment. A captain's guard marched before the 
corpse, the captain of it in the rear, the firelocks reversed, 
the drums beating the dead march. When near the grave, 
the guard formed two lines, facing each other; rested on 
their arms, muzzles downward, and leaned their faces on the 
butts- The corpse was carried between them, the sword and 
sash on the coffin, and the officers following two and two. 
After the chaplain of the regimen had read the service, the 
guard fired three volleys over the grave, and returned.* 

Braddock's camp, in a word, was a complete study for 
"Washington, during the halt at Fort Cumberland, where he 
had an opportunity of seeing military routine in its strictest 
forms. He had a specimen, too, of convivial life in the 
camp, which the general endeavored to maintain, even in 
the wilderness, keeping a hospitable table ; for he is said to 
have been somewhat of a bon vivant, and to have had with 
him "two good cooks, who could make an excellent ragout 
out of a pair of boots, had they but materials to toss them 
up with." f 

There was great detention at the fort, caused by the want 
of forage and supplies, the road not having been finished 
from Philadelphia. Mr. Richard Peters, the secretary of 
Governor Morris, was in camp, to attend to the matter. He 
had to bear the brunt of Braddock's complaints. The gen- 
eral declared he would not stir from Wills' Creek until he 
had the governor's assurance that the road would be opened 
in time. Mr. Peters requested guards to protect the men 

* Orme's Journal. Journal of the Seamen's detachment. 
f Preface to Winthrop Sargent's Introductory Memoir. 

Cife of ll/as^ir^ton 1?9 

while at work, from attacks by the Indians. Braddock 
swore he would not furnish guards for the woodcutters — "let 
Pennsylvania do it!" He scoffed at the talk about danger 
from Indians. Peters endeavored to make him sensible of 
the peril which threatened him in this respect. Should an 
army of them, led by French officers, beset him in his march, 
he would not be able, with all his strength and military skill, 
to reach Fort Duquesne without a body of rangers, as well 
on foot as horseback. The general, however, "despised his 
observations."* Still, guards had ultimately to be pro- 
vided, or the work on the road would have been abandoned. 

Braddock, in fact, was completely chagrined and disap- 
pointed about the Indians. The Cherokees and Catawbas, 
whom Dinwiddie had given him reason to expect in such 
numbers, never arrived. 

George Croghan reached the camp with but about fifty 
warriors, whom he had brought from Aughquick. At the 
general's request he sent a messenger to invite the Dela- 
wares and Shawnees from the Ohio, who returned with two 
chiefs of the former tribe. Among the sachems thus assem- 
bled were some of Washington's former allies; Scarooyadi, 
alias Monacatoocha, successor to the half -king; White Thun- 
der, the keeper of the speech-belts, and Silver Heels, so 
called, probably, from being swift of foot. 

Notwithstanding his secret contempt for the Indians, 
Braddock, agreeably to his instructions, treated them with 
great ceremony. A grand council was held in his tent, 
where all his officers attended. The chiefs, and all the 
warriors, came painted and decorated for war. They were 
received with military honors, the guards resting on their 

* Colonial Records, vi. 396. 

180 U/or^s of U/as^ip^tor) Iruii)^ 

firearms. The general made them a speech through his 
interpreter, expressing the grief of their father, the great 
King of England, at the death of the half -king, and made 
them presents to console them. They in return promised 
their aid as guides and scouts, and declared eternal enmity 
to the French, following the declaration with the war song, 
"making a terrible noise." 

The general, to regale and astonish them, ordered all the 
artillery to be fired, "the drums and fifes playing and beat- 
ing the point of war"; the fete ended by their feasting in 
their own camp on a bullock which the general had given 
them, following up their repast by dancing the war dance 
round a fire, to the sound of their uncouth drums and rattles, 
"making night hideous," by howls and yellings. 

"I have engaged between forty and fifty Indians from 
the frontiers of your province to go over the mountains with 
me," writes Braddock to Governor Morris, "and shall take 
Croghan and Montour into service. " Croghan was, in effect, 
put in command of the Indians, and a warrant given to him 
of captain. 

For a time all went well. The Indians had their sepa- 
rate camp, where they passed half the night singing, danc- 
ing, and howling. The British were amused by their strange 
ceremonies, their savage antics, and savage decorations. 
The Indians, on the other hand, loitered by day about the 
English camp, fiercely painted and arrayed, gazing with si- 
lent admiration at the parade of the troops, their marchings 
and evolutions; and delighted with the horse-races, with 
which the young officers recreated themselves. 

Unluckily the warriors had brought their families with 
•hem to Wills' Creek, and the women were even fonder than 
the men of loitering about the British camp. They were not 

Cife of \JJas\)iT)QtOT) 181 

destitute of attractions ; for the young squaws resemble the 
gypsies, having seductive forms, small hands and feet, and 
soft voices. Among those who visited the camp was one 
who no doubt passed for an Indian princess. She was the 
daughter of the sachem, White Thunder, and bore the daz- 
zling name of Bright Lightning.* The charms of these 
wild- wood beauties were soon acknowledged. 1 ' The squaws, ' ' 
writes Secretary Peters, "bring in money plenty; the officers 
are scandalously fond of them."t 

The jealousy of the warriors was aroused ; some of them 
became furious. To prevent discord, the squaws were for- 
bidden to come into the British camp. This did not prevent 
their being sought elsewhere. It was ultimately found nec- 
essary, for the sake of quiet, to send Bright Lightning, with 
all the other women and children, back to Aughquick. 
White Thunder, and several of the warriors, accompanied 
them for their protection. 

As to the three Delaware chiefs, they returned to the 
Ohio, promising the general they would collect their war- 
riors together, and meet him on his march. They never 
kept their word. "These people are villains, and always 
side with the strongest," says a shrewd journalist of the 

During the halt of the troops at Wills' Creek, Washing- 
ton had been sent to Williamsburg to bring on four thousand 
pounds for the military chest. He returned after a fort- 
night's absence, escorted from Winchester by eight men, 
"which eight men," writes he, "were two days assembling, 
but I believe would not have been more than as many sec- 
onds dispersing if I had been attacked." 

* Seamen's Journal. 

f Letter of Peters to Governor Morris. 

182 U/orKs of U/asl?ir}$ton Iruin$ 

He found the general out of all patience and temper at 
the delays and disappointments in regard to horses, wagons, 
and forage, making no allowances for the difficulties incident 
to a new country, and to the novel and great demands upon 
its scanty and scattered resources. 

He accused the army cod tractors of want of faith, honor, 
and honesty; and in his moments of passion, which were 
many, extended the stigma to the whole country. This 
stung the patriotic sensibility of Washington, and overcame 
his usual self-command, and the proud and passionate com- 
mander was occasionally surprised by a well-merited rebuke 
from his aid-de-camp. "We have frequent disputes on this 
head," writes Washington, "which are maintained with 
warmth on both sides, especially on his, as he is incapable of 
arguing without it, or of giving up any point he asserts, be 
it ever so incompatible with reason or common sense." 

The same pertinacity was maintained with respect to the 
Indians. George Croghan informed Washington that the 
sachems considered themselves treated with slight, in never 
being consulted in war matters. That he himself had re- 
peatedly offered the services of the warriors under his com- 
mand as scouts and out guards, but his offers had been re- 
jected. Washington ventured to interfere, and to urge their 
importance for such purposes, especially now when they 
were approaching the stronghold of the enemy. As usual, 
the general remained bigoted in his belief of the all-suffi- 
ciency of well-disciplined troops. 

Either from disgust thus caused, or from being actually 
dismissed, the warriors began to disappear from the camp. 
It is said that Colonel Innes, who was to remain in command 
at Fort Cumberland, advised the dismissal of all but a few 
to serve as guides; certain it is, before Braddock recom- 

Cife of Was\)iT)QtOT) 183 

menced his march, none remained to accompany him but 
Scarooyadi and eight of his warriors.* 

Seeing the general's impatience at the nonarrival of con- 
veyances, Washington again represented to him the diffi- 
culties he would encounter in attempting to traverse the 
mountains with such a train of wheel-carriages, assuring 
him it would be the most arduous part of the campaign; 
and recommended, from his own experience, the substitution, 
as much as .possible, of pack-horses. Braddock, however, 
had not been sufficiently harassed by frontier campaigning 
to depart from his European modes, or to be swayed in his 
military operations by so green a counselor. 

At length the general was relieved from present perplexi- 
ties by the arrival of the horses and wagons which Franklin 
had undertaken to procure. That eminent man, with his 
characteristic promptness and unwearied exertions, and by 
his great personal popularity, had obtained them from the 
reluctant Pennsylvania farmers, being obliged to pledge his 
own responsibility for their being fully remunerated. He 
performed this laborious task out of pure zeal for the public 
service, neither expecting nor receiving emolument ; and, in 
fact, experiencing subsequently great delay and embarrass- 
ment before he was relieved from the pecuniary responsi- 
bilities thus patriotically incurred. 

* Braddock's own secretary, William Shirley, was dis- 
affected to him. Writing about him to Governor Morris, he 
satirically observes: "We have a general most judiciously 
chosen for being disqualified for the service he is employed 
in, in almost every respect." And of the secondary officers, 
"As to them, I don't think we have much to boast. Some 
are insolent and ignorant ; others capable, but rather aiming 
at showing their own abilities than making a proper use of 
them." — Colonial Records, vi. 405. 

184 U/or^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> Irvii}$ 

The arrival of the conveyances put Braddock in good 
humor with Pennsylvania. In a letter to Governor Morris, 
he alludes to the threat of Sir John St. Clair to go through 
that province with a drawn sword in his hand. "He is 
ashamed of his having talked to you in the manner he did." 
Still the general made Franklin's contract for wagons the 
sole instance in which he had not experienced deceit and 
villiany. "I hope, however, in spite of all this," adds he, 
"that we shall pass a merry Christmas together." 


March from Fort Cumberland — The Great Savage Mountain — Camp 
at the Little Meadows — Division of the Forces — Captain Jack 
and his Band — Scarooyadi in Danger — Illness of Washington — 
His Halt at the Youghiogeny — March of Braddock — The 
Great Meadows — Lurking Enemies — Their Tracks — Precau- 
tions — Thicketty Run — Scouts — Indian Murders — Funeral of 
an Indian Warrior — Camp on the Monongahela — Wash- 
ington's arrival there — March for Fort Duquesne — The Ford- 
ing of the Monongahela — The Battle — The Retreat — Death of 

On the 10th of June, Braddock set off from Fort Cumber- 
land with his aides-de-camp, and others of his staff, and his 
bodyguard of light horse. Sir Peter Halket, with his bri- 
gade, had marched six days previously; and a detachment 
of three hundred men, under the command of Colonel Chap- 
man, and the supervision of Sir John St. Clair, had been 
employed upward of ten days in cutting down trees, remov- 
ing rocks, and opening a road. 

The march over the mountains proved, as Washington 
had foretold, a " tremendous undertaking." It was with 

Clfe of U/asl?ii}<$toi) 185 

difficulty the heavily laden wagons could be dragged up the 
steep and rugged roads, newly made or imperfectly repaired. 
Often they extended for three or four miles in a straggling 
and broken line, with the soldiers so dispersed, in guarding 
them, that an attack on any side would have thrown the 
whole in confusion. It was the dreary region of the great 
Savage Mountain and the " Shades of Death" that was again 
made to echo with the din of arms. 

"What outraged Washington's notions of the abstemious 
frugality suitable to campaigning in the "backwoods," was 
the great number of horses and wagons required by the 
officers for the transportation of their baggage, camp equi- 
page, and a thousand articles of artificial necessity. Sim- 
ple himself in his tastes and habits, and manfully indiffer- 
ent to personal indulgences, he almost doubted whether 
such sybarites in the camp could be efficient in the field. 

By the time the advanced corps had struggled over two 
mountains, and through the intervening forest, and reached 
(16th June) the Little Meadows, where Sir John St. Clair 
had made a temporary camp, General Braddock had become 
aware of the difference between campaigning in a new 
country, or on the old well-beaten battlegrounds of Europe. 
He now, of his own accord, turned to Washington for advice, 
though it must have been a sore trial to his pride to seek it 
of so young a man ; but he had by this time sufficient proof 
of his sagacity and his knowledge of the frontier. 

Thus unexpectedly called on, Washington gave his coun- 
cil with becoming modesty, but with his accustomed clear- 
ness. There was just now an opportunity to strike an 
effective blow at Fort Duquesne, but it might be lost by 
delay. The garrison, according to credible reports, was 
weak; large re-enforcements and supplies, which were on 

186 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irving 

their way, would be detained by the drought, which ren- 
dered the river by which they must come low and unnavi- 
gable. The blow must be struck before they could arrive. 
He advised the general, therefore, to divide his forces : leave 
one part to come on with the stores and baggage, and all the 
cumbrous appurtenances of an army, and to throw himself 
in the advance with the other part, composed of his choic- 
est troops, lightened of everything superfluous that might 
impede a rapid march. 

His advice was adopted. Twelve hundred men, selected 
out of all the companies, and furnished with ten field-pieces, 
were to form the first division, their provisions and other 
necessaries to be carried on pack horses. The second divis- 
ion, with all the stores, munitions, and heavy baggage, was 
to be brought on by Colonel Dunbar. 

The least practicable part of the arrangement was with 
regard to the officers of the advance. Washington had 
urged a retrenchment of their baggage and camp equipage, 
that as many of their horses as possible might be used as 
pack-horses. Here was the difficulty. Brought up, many 
of them, in fashionable and luxurious life, or the loitering 
indulgence of country quarters, they were so encumbered 
with what they considered indispensable necessaries, that 
out of two hundred and twelve horses generally appropriated 
to their use, not more than a dozen could be spared by them 
for the public service. Washington, in his own case, acted 
up to the advice he had given. He retained no more clothing 
and effects with him than would about half fill a portmanteau, 
and gave up his best steed as a pack-horse — which he never 
heard of afterward.* 

* Letter to J. Augustine Washington. Sparks, ii. 81. 

Cife of U/a8^ip<$tor> 187 

During the halt at the Little Meadows, Captain Jack and 
his band of forest rangers, whom Croghan had engaged at 
Governor Morris's suggestion, made their appearance in the 
camp, armed and equipped with rifle, knife, hunting-shirts, 
leggings and moccasins, and looking almost like a band of 
Indians as they issued from the woods. 

The captain asked an interview with the general, by 
whom, it would seem, he was not expected. Braddock 
received him in his tent, in his usual stiff and stately man- 
ner. The " Black Rifle" spoke of himself and his followers 
as men inured to hardships, and accustomed to deal with 
Indians, who preferred stealth and stratagem to open war- 
fare. He requested his company should be employed as a 
reconnoitering party to beat up the Indians in their lurk- 
ing-places and ambuscades. 

Braddock, who had a sovereign contempt for the chivalry 
of the woods, and despised their boasted strategy, replied 
to the hero of the Pennsylvania settlements in a manner 
to which he had not been accustomed. " There was time 
enough," he said, "for making arrangements; and he had 
experienced troops, on whom he could completely rely for 
all purposes." 

Captain Jack withdrew, indignant at so haughty a recep- 
tion, and informed his leathern-clad followers of his rebuff. 
They forthwith shouldered their rifles, turned their backs 
upon the camp, and, headed by the captain, departed in 
Indian file through the woods, for the usual scenes of their 
exploits, where men knew their value, the banks of the 
Juniata or the Canococheague.* 

* On the Canococheague and Juniata is left the history 
of their exploits. At one time you may hear of the band 

188 U/or^s of U/as^ip^toi) frvir;©; 

On the 19th of June Braddock's first division set out with 
less than thirty carriages, including those that transported 
ammunition for the artillery, all strongly horsed. The In- 
dians marched with the advanced party. In the course of 
the day Scarooyadi and his son, being at a small distance 
from the line of march, were surrounded and taken by some 
French and Indians. His son escaped, and brought intelli- 
gence to his warriors; they hastened to rescue or revenge 
him, but found him tied to a tree. The French had been 
disposed to shoot him, but their savage allies declared they 
would abandon them should they do so; having some tie of 
friendship or kindred with the chieftain, who thus rejoined 
the troops unharmed. 

Washington was disappointed in his anticipations of a 
rapid march. The general, though he had adopted his ad- 
vice in the main, could not carry it out in detail. His mili- 
tary education was in the way ; bigoted to the regular and 
elaborate tactics of Europe, he could not stoop to the make- 
shift expedients of a new country where every difficulty is 
encountered and mastered in a rough-and-ready style. "I 
found," said Washington, "that instead of pushing on with 
vigor, without regarding a little rough road, they were halt- 
ing to level every mole hill, and to erect bridges over every 
brook, by which means we were four days in getting twelve 

For several days Washington had suffered from fever, 
accompanied by intense headache, and his illness increased 
in violence to such a degree that he was unable to ride, and 
had to be conveyed for a part of the time in a covered wagon. 

near Fort Augusta, next at Fort Franklin, then at Loudon, 
then at Juniata — rapid were the movements of this hardy 
band. — Hazard's Reg. Perm., iv. 390; also v. 194. 

Cife of U/as^iQdtoi) 189 

His illness continued without intermission until the 23d, 
''when I was relieved/' says he, "by the general's absolutely 
ordering the physician to give me Dr. James's powders; one 
of the most excellent medicines in the world. It gave me 
immediate relief, and removed my fever and other com- 
plaints in four days' time." 

He was still unable to bear the jolting of the wagon, but 
it needed another interposition of the kindly -intended au- 
thority of General Braddock to bring him to a halt at the 
great crossings of the Youghiogeny. There the general 
assigned him a guard, provided him with necessaries, and 
requested him to remain, under care of his physician, Dr. 
Craik, until the arrival of Colonel Dunbar's detachment, 
which was two days' march in the rear; giving him his 
word of honor that he should, at all events, be enabled to 
rejoin the main division before it reached the French fort.* 

This kind solicitude on the part of Braddock shows the 
real estimation in which he was held by that officer. Dr. 
Craik backed the general's orders by declaring that should 
Washington persevere in his attempts to go on in the condi- 
tion he then was, his life would be in danger. Orme also 
joined his entreaties, and promised if he would remain he 
would keep him informed by letter of every occurrence of 

Notwithstanding all the kind assurances of Braddock and 
his aid-de-camp, Orme, it was with gloomy feelings that 
Washington saw the troops depart ; fearful he might not be 
able to rejoin them in time for the attack upon the fort, 
which, he assured his brother aid-de-camp, he would not 
miss for five hundred pounds. 

* Letter to John Augustine Washington. Sparks, ii. 80. 

190 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)<$tor) Iruir^ 

Leaving "Washington at the Youghiogeny, we will follow 
the march of Braddock. In the course of the first day (June 
24th) he came to a deserted Indian camp; judging from the 
number of wigwams, there must have been about one hun- 
dred and seventy warriors. Some of the trees about it had 
been stripped, and painted with threats, and bravadoes, and 
scurrilous taunts written on them in the French language, 
showing that there were white men with the savages. 

The next morning, at daybreak, three men venturing 
beyond the sentinels were shot and scalped; parties were 
immediately sent out to scour the woods and drive in the 
stray horses. 

The day's march passed by the Great Meadows and Fort 
Necessity, the scene of "Washington's capitulation. Several 
Indians were seen hovering in the woods, and the light horse 
and Indian allies were sent out to surround them, but did 
not succeed. In crossing a mountain beyond the Great 
Meadows, the carriages had to be lowered, with the assist- 
ance of the sailors, by means of tackle. The camp for the 
night was about two miles beyond Fort Necessity. Several 
French and Indians endeavored to reconnoiter it, but were 
fired upon by the advanced sentinels. 

The following day (26th) there was a laborious march of 
but four miles, owing to the difficulties of the road. The 
evening halt was at another deserted Indian camp strongly 
posted on a high rock, with a steep and narrow ascent; it 
had a spring in the middle, and stood at the termination of 
the Indian path to the Monongahela. By this pass the party 
had come which attacked "Washington the year before, in 
the Great Meadows. The Indians and French, too, who 
were hovering about the army, had just left this camp. The 
fires they had left were yet burning. The French had in- 

Cife of U/asl?ir;<$ton 191 

scribed their names on some of the trees with insulting 
bravadoes, and the Indians had designated in triumph the 
scalps they had taken two days previously. A party was 
sent out with guides, to follow their tracks and fall on them 
in the night, but again without success. In fact, it was the 
Indian boast, that throughout this march of Braddock, they 
saw him every day from the mountains, and expected to be 
able to shoot down his soldiers "like pigeons." 

The march continued to be toilful and difficult; on one 
day it did not exceed two miles, having to cut a passage over 
a mountain. In cleaning their guns the men were ordered 
to draw the charge instead of firing it off. No fire was to 
be lighted in front of the pickets. At night the men were 
to take their arms into the tents with them. 

Further on the precautions became still greater. On the 
advanced pickets the men were in two divisions, relieving 
each other every two hours. Half remained on guard with 
fixed bayonets, the other half lay down by their arms. The 
picket sentinels were doubled. 

On the 4th of July they encamped at Thicketty Run. 
The country was less mountainous and rocky, and the woods, 
consisting chiefly of white pine, were more open. The gen- 
eral now supposed himself to be within thirty miles of Fort 
Duquesne. Ever since the halt at the deserted camp on the 
rock beyond the Great Meadows, he had endeavored to pre- 
vail upon the Croghan Indians to scout in the direction of 
the fort, and bring him intelligence, but never could succeed. 
They had probably been deterred by the number of French 
and Indian tracks, and by the recent capture of Scarooyadi. 
This day, however, two consented to reconnoiter ; and shortly 
after their departure, Christopher Gist, the resolute pioneer, 
who acted as guide to the general, likewise set off as a scout. 

192 Tl/or^s of U/asl?ii)$tor; Irvii)©; 

The Indians returned on the 6th. They had been close 
to Fort Duquesne. There were no additional works there; 
they saw a few boats under the fort, and one with a white 
flag coming down the Ohio; but there were few men to be 
seen and few tracks of any. They came upon an unfortu- 
nate officer shooting within half a mile of the fort, and 
brought a scalp as a trophy of his fate. None of the passes 
between the camp and fort were occupied; they believed 
there were few men abroad reconnoitering. 

Gist returned soon after. His account corroborated 
theirs; but he had seen a smoke in a valley between the 
camp and the fort, made probably by some scouting party. 
He had intended to prowl about the fort at night, but had 
been discovered and pursued by two Indians, and narrowly 
escaped with his life. 

On the same day, during the march, three or four men 
loitering in the rear of the grenadiers were killed and 
scalped. Several of the grenadiers set off to take revenge. 
They came upon a party of Indians, who held up boughs 
and grounded their arms, the concerted sign of amity. Not 
perceiving or understanding it, the grenadiers fired upon 
them and one fell. It proved to be the son of Scarooyadi. 
Aware too late of their error, the grenadiers brought the 
body to the camp. The conduct of Braddock was admirable 
on the occasion. He sent for the father and the other In- 
dians, and condoled with them on the lamentable occurrence ; 
making them the customary presents of expiation. But 
what was more to the point, he caused the youth to be buried 
with the honors of war ; at his request the officers attended 
the funeral, and a volley was fired over the grave. 

These soldierlike tributes of respect to the deceased, and 
sympathy with the survivors, soothed the feelings and grati- 

Cife of lI/asl?ii)$ton 193 

fied the pride of the father, and attached him more firmly 
to the service. We are glad to record an anecdote so con- 
trary to the general contempt for the Indians with which 
Braddock stands charged. It speaks well for the real kind- 
ness of his heart. 

"We will return now to "Washington in his sick encamp- 
ment on the banks of the Youghiogeny, where he was left 
repining at the departure of the troops without him. To add 
to his annoyances, his servant, John Alton, a faithful "Welsh- 
man, was taken ill with the same malady and unable to 
render him any services. Letters from his fellow aides-de- 
camp showed him the kind solicitude that was felt concern- 
ing him. At the general's desire, Captain Morris wrote to 
him, informing him of their intended halts. 

"It is the desire of every individual in the family," adds 
he, "and the general's positive commands to you, not to stir 
but by the advice of the person [Dr. Craik] under whose 
care you are, till you are better, which we all hope will be 
very soon." 

Orme, too, according to promise, kept him informed of 
the incidents of the march ; the frequent night alarms and 
occasional scalping parties. The night alarms Washington 
considered mere feints, designed to harass the men and 
retard the march ; the enemy, he was sure, had not sufficient 
force for a serious attack ; and he was glad to learn from 
Orme that the men were in high spirits and confident of 

He now considered himself sufficiently recovered to rejoin 
the troops, and his only anxiety was that he should not be 
able to do it in time for the great blow. He was rejoiced, 
therefore, on the 3d of July, by the arrival of an advanced 
party of one hundred men convoying provisions. Being still 

* * * I— Vol. XII. 

194: U/orl^s of ll/as^ir^tor? Iruip^ 

too weak to mount his horse, he set off with the escort in 
a covered wagon; and after a most fatiguing journey, over 
mountain and through forest, reached Braddock's camp on 
the 8th of July. It was on the east side of the Monongahela, 
about two miles from the river, in the neighborhood of the 
town of Queen Aliquippa, and about fifteen miles from Fort 

In consequence of adhering to technical rules and mili- 
tary forms, General Braddock had consumed a month in 
marching little more than a hundred miles. The tardiness 
of his progress was regarded with surprise and impatience 
even in Europe ; where his patron, the Duke of Brunswick, 
was watching the events of the campaign he had planned. 
"The duke," writes Horace Walpole, "is much dissatisfied 
at the slowness of General Braddock, who does not march 
as if he was at all impatient to be scalped." The insinua- 
tion of the satirical wit was unmerited. Braddock was a 
stranger to fear; but in his movements he was fettered by 

Washington was warmly received on his arrival, espe- 
cially by his fellow aides-de-camp, Morris and Orme. He 
was just in time, for the attack upon Fort Duquesne was to 
be made on the following day. The neighboring country 
had been reconnoitered, to determine upon a plan of attack. 
The fort stood on the same side of the Monongahela with the 
camp; but there was a narrow pass between them of about 
two miles, with the river on the left and a very high moun- 
tain on the right, and in its present state quite impassable 
for carriages. The route determined on was to cross the 
Monongahela by a ford immediately opposite to the camp; 
proceed along the west bank of the river for about five 
miles, then recross by another ford to the eastern side, and 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)$toi) 195 

push on to the fort. The river at these fords was shallow, 
and the banks were not steep. 

According to the plan of arrangement, Lieutenant-colonel 
Gage, with the advance, was to cross the river before day- 
break, march to the second ford, and recrossing there, take 
post to secure the passage of the main force. The advance 
was to be composed of two companies of grenadiers, one 
hundred and sixty infantry, the independent company of 
Captain Horatio Gates, and two six-pounderSc 

Washington, who had already seen enough of regular 
troops to doubt their infallibility in wild bash-fighting, and 
who knew the dangerous nature of the ground they were to 
traverse, ventured to suggest that on the following day the 
Virginia rangers, being accustomed to the country and to 
Indian warfare, might be thrown in the advance. The 
proposition drew an angry reply from the general, indignant, 
very probably, that a young provincial officer should presume 
to school a veteran like himself. 

Early next morning (July 9th), before daylight, Colonel 
Gage crossed with the advance. He was followed, at some 
distance, by Sir John St. Clair, quartermaster-general, with 
a working party of two hundred and fifty men, to make 
roads for the artillery and baggage. They had with them 
their wagons of tools and two six-pounders. A party of 
about thirty savages rushed out of the woods as Colonel 
Gage advanced, but were put to flight before they had done 
any harm. 

By sunrise the main body turned out in full uniform. 
At the beating of "the general," their arms, which had been 
cleaned the night before, were charged with fresh cartridges. 
The officers were perfectly equipped. All looked as if arrayed 
for a fete rather than a battle. Washington, who was still 

196 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvii)<$ 

weak and unwell, mounted his horse and joined the staff of 
the general, who was scrutinizing everything with the eye 
of a martinet. As it was supposed the enemy would be on 
the watch for the crossing of the troops, it had been agreed 
that they should do it in the greatest order, with bayonets 
fixed, colors flying, and drums and fifes beating and play- 
ing.* They accordingly made a gallant appearance as they 
forded the Monongahela, and wound along its banks and 
through the open forests, gleaming and glittering in morn- 
ing sunshine, and stepping buoyantly to the Grenadiers' 

Washington, with his keen and youthful relish for mili- 
tary affairs, was delighted with their perfect order and equip- 
ment, so different from the rough bush-fighters to which he 
had been accustomed. Roused to new life, he forgot his re- 
cent ailments, and broke forth in expressions of enjoyment 
and admiration, as he rode in company with his fellow 
aides-de-camp, Orme and Morris. Often, in after life, he 
used to speak of the effect upon him of the first sight of 
a well-disciplined European army, marching in high con- 
fidence and bright array, on the eve of a battle. 

About noon they reached the second ford. Gage, with 
the advance, was on the opposite side of the Monongahela, 
posted according to orders ; but the river bank had not been 
sufficiently sloped. The artillery and baggage drew up 
along the beach and halted until one, when the second 
crossing took place, drums beating, fifes playing, and colors 
flying, as before. When all had passed, there was again a 
halt close by a small stream called Frazier's Run, until the 
general arranged the order of march. 

* Orme's Journal. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 197 

First went the advance, under Gage, preceded by the 
engineers and guides, and six light horsemen. 

Then, Sir John St. Clair and the working party, with 
their wagons and the two six-pounders. On each side were 
thrown out four flanking parties. 

Then, at some distance, the general was to follow with 
the main body, the artillery and baggage preceded and 
flanked by light horse and squads of infantry; while the 
Virginian, and other provincial troops, were to form the rear 

The ground before them was level until about half a mile 
from the river, where a rising ground covered with long 
grass, low bushes and scattered trees sloped up to a range 
of hills. The whole country, generally speaking, was a for- 
est, with no clear opening but the road, which was about 
twelve feet wide, and flanked by two ravines, concealed by 
trees and thickets. 

Had Braddock been schooled in the warfare of the woods, 
or had he adopted the suggestions of Washington, which he 
rejected so impatiently, he would have thrown out Indian 
scouts or Virginia rangers in the advance and on the flanks, 
to beat up the woods and ravines; but, as has been sarcas- 
tically observed, he suffered his troops to march forward 
through the center of the plain, with merely their usual 
guides and flanking parties, "as if in a review in St. James's 

It was now near two o'clock. The advanced party and 
the working party had crossed the plain, and were ascend- 
ing the rising ground. Braddock was about to follow with 
the main body, and had given the word to march, when he 
heard an excessively quick and heavy firing in front. Wash- 
ington, who was with the general, surmised that the evil he 

198 U/orl{8 of U/asl?li)$tor) Iruip$ 

had apprehended had come to pass. For want of scouting 
parties ahead the advanced parties were suddenly and 
warmly attacked. Braddock ordered Lieutenant - colonel 
Burton to hasten to their assistance with the vanguard of 
the main body, eight hundred strong. The residue, four 
hundred, were halted, and posted to protect the artillery 
and baggage. 

The firing continued, with fearful yelling. There was a 
terrible uproar. By the generaPs orders, an aid-de-camp 
spurred forward to bring him an account of the nature of 
the attack. "Without waiting for his return the general him- 
self, finding the turmoil increase, moved forward, leaving 
Sir Peter Halket with the command of the baggage.* 

The van of the advance had indeed been taken by surprise. 
It was composed of two companies of carpenters or pioneers 
to cut the road, and two flank companies of grenadiers to 
protect them. Suddenly the engineer who preceded them 
to mark out the road gave the alarm, "French and Indians !" 
A body of them was approaching rapidly, cheered on by a 
Frenchman in gayly fringed hunting-shirt, whose gorget 
showed him to be an officer. There was sharp firing on 
both sides at first. Several of the enemy fell ; among them 
their leader; but a murderous fire broke out from among 
trees and a ravine on the right, and the woods resounded 
with unearthly whoops and yellings. The Indian rifle was 
at work, leveled by unseen hands. Most of the grenadiers 
and many of the pioneers were shot down. The survivors 
were driven in on the advance. 

Gage ordered his men to fix bayonets and form in order 
of battle. They did so in hurry and trepidation. He would 

* Orme's Journal. 

Cife of U/as\)iT)$tor) 199 

have scaled a hill on the right whence there was the severest 
firing. Not a platoon would quit the line of march. They 
were more dismayed by the yells than by the rifles of the 
unseen savages. The latter extended themselves along the 
hill and in the ravines; but their whereabout was only 
known by their demoniac cries and the puffs of smoke from 
their rifles. The soldiers fired wherever they saw the smoke. 
Their officers tried in vain to restrain them until they should 
see their foe. All orders were unheeded; in their fright 
they shot at random, killing some of their own flanking par- 
ties, and of the vanguard, as they came running in. The 
covert fire grew more intense. In a short time most of the 
officers and many of the men of the advance were killed or 
wounded. Colonel Gage himself received a wound. The 
advance fell back in dismay upon Sir John St. Clair's corps, 
which was equally dismayed. The cannon belonging to it 
were deserted. 

Colonel Burton had come up with the re-enforcement, 
and was forming his men to face the rising ground on the 
right, when both of the advanced detachments fell back upon 
him, and all now was confusion. 

By this time the general was upon the ground. He tried 
to rally the men. "They would fight,' ' they said, "if they 
could see their enemy ; but it was useless to fire at trees and 
bushes, and they could not stand to be shot down by an 
invisible foe." 

Their colors were advanced in different places to separate 
the men of the two regiments. The general ordered the 
officers to form the men, tell them off into small divisions, 
and advance with them ; but the soldiers could not be pre- 
vailed upon either by threats or entreaties. The Virginia 
troops, accustomed to the Indian mode of fighting, scattered 

200 U/or^s of U/a8l?in$ton Irving 

themselves, and took post behind trees, whence they could 
pick off the lurking foe. In this way they, in some degree, 
protected the regulars. "Washington advised General Brad- 
dock to adopt the same plan with the regulars; but he per- 
sisted in forming them into platoons ; consequently they were 
cut down from behind logs and trees as fast as they could 
advance. Several attempted to take to the trees, without 
orders, but the general stormed at them, call them cowards, 
and even struck them with the flat of his sword. Several 
of the Virginians who had taken post and were doing good 
service in this manner, were slain by the fire of the regulars, 
directed wherever a smoke appeared among the trees. 

The officers behaved with consummate braver} r ; and 
Washington beheld with admiration those who, in camp 
or on the march, had appeared to him to have an almost 
effeminate regard for personal ease and convenience, now 
exposing themselves to imminent death with a courage that 
kindled with the thickening horrors. In the vain hope of 
inspiriting the men to drive off the enemy from the flanks 
and regain the cannon, they would dash forwaid singly or 
in groups. They were invariably shot down; for the In- 
dians aimed from their coverts at every one on horseback, 
or who appeared to have command. 

Some were killed by random shot of their own men, who, 
crowded in masses, fired with affrighted rapidity, but with- 
out aim. Soldiers in the front ranks were killed by those in 
the rear. Between friend and foe, the slaughter of the 
officers was terrible. All this while the woods resounded 
with the unearthly yellings of the savages, and now and 
then one of them, hideously painted, and ruffling with feath- 
ered crest, would rush forth to scalp an officer who had fallen, 
or seize a horse galloping wildly without a rider. 

Cife of U/asl?i[)<$t09 201 

Throughout this disastrous day Washington distinguished 
himself by his courage and presence of mind. His brother 
aids, Orme and Morris, were wounded and disabled early in 
the action, and the whole duty of carrying the orders of the 
general devolved on him. His danger was imminent and 
incessant. He was in every part of the field, a conspicuous 
mark for the murderous rifle. Two horses were shot under 
him. Four bullets passed through his coat. His escape 
without a wound was almost miraculous. Dr. Craik, who 
was on the field attending to the wounded, watched him 
with anxiety as he rode about in the most exposed manner, 
and used to say that he expected every moment to see him 
fall. At one time he was sent to the main body to bring the 
artillery into action. All there was likewise in confusion ; 
for the Indians had extended themselves along the ravine so 
as to flank the reserve and carry slaughter into the ranks. 
Sir Peter Halket had been shot down at the head of his regi- 
ment. The men who should have served the guns were 
paralyzed. Had they raked the ravines with grapeshot the 
day might have been saved. In his ardor Washington 
sprang from his horse, wheeled and pointed a brass field- 
piece with his own hand, and directed an effective discharge 
into the woods ; but neither his efforts nor example were of 
avail. The men could not be kept to the guns. 

Braddock still remained in the center of the field, in the 
desperate hope of retrieving the fortunes of the day. The 
Virginia rangers, who had been most efficient in covering 
his position, were nearly all killed or wounded. His secre- 
tary, Shirley, had fallen by his side. Many of his officers 
had been slain within his sight, and many of his guard of 
Virginia light horse. Five horses had been killed under 
him; still he kept his ground, vainly endeavoring to check 

802 U/orKg of U/asl?iD<$ton Iruio<$ 

the flight of his men, or, at least, to effect their retreat in 
good order. At length a bullet passed through his right 
arm, and lodged itself in his lungs. He fell from his horse, 
but was caught by Captain Stewart, of the Virginia guards, 
who, with the assistance of another American and a ser- 
vant, placed him in a tumbrel. It was with much difficulty 
they got him out of the field — in his despair he desired to be 
left there.* 

The rout now became complete. Baggage, stores, artil- 
lery, everything was abandoned. The wagoners took each 
a horse out of his team and fled. The officers were swept 
off with the men in this headlong flight. It was rendered 
more precipitate by the shouts and yells of the savages, 
numbers of whom rushed forth from their coverts and pur- 
sued the fugitives to the riverside, killing several as they 
dashed across in tumultuous confusion. Fortunately for the 
latter, the victors gave up the pursuit in their eagerness to 
collect the spoil. 

The shattered army continued its flight after it had 
crossed the Monongahela, a wretched wreck of the bril- 
liant little force that had recently gleamed along its banks, 
confident of victory. Out of eighty-six officers, twenty -six 
had been killed and thirty-six wounded. The number of 
rank and file killed and wounded was upward of seven hun- 
dred. The Virginia corps had suffered the most; one com- 
pany had been almost annihilated; another, besides those 
killed and wounded in the ranks, had lost all its officers, 
even to the corporal. 

About a hundred men were brought to a halt about a 
quarter of a mile from the ford of the river. Here was 

* Journal of the Seamen's detachment. 

Cife of U/asfoir^tor; 203 

Braddock, with his wounded aides-de-camp and some of his 
officers; Dr. Craik dressing his wounds, and Washington at- 
tending him with faithful assiduity. Braddock was still able 
to give orders, and had a faint hope of being able to keep 
possession of the ground until re-enforced. Most of the men 
were stationed in a very advantageous spot about two hun- 
dred yards from the road; and Lieutenant-colonel Burton 
posted out small parties and sentinels. Before an hour had 
elapsed most of the men had stolen off. Being thus de- 
serted, Braddock and his officers continued their retreat ; he 
would have mounted his horse, but was unable, and had to 
be carried by soldiers. Orme and Morris were placed on lit- 
ters borne by horses. They were subsequently joined by 
Colonel Gage with eighty men whom he had rallied. 

Washington, in the meantime, notwithstanding his weak 
state, being found most efficient in frontier service, was sent 
to Colonel Dunbar's camp, forty miles distant, with orders 
for him to hurry forward provisions, hospital stores and 
wagons for the wounded, under the escort of two grenadier 
companies. It was a hard and a melancholy ride through- 
out the night and the following day. The tidings of the de- 
feat preceded him, borne by the wagoners, who had mounted 
their horses, on Braddock's fall, and fled from the field of 
battle. They had arrived, haggard, at Dunbar's camp at 
midday; the Indian yell still ringing in their ears. "All 
was lost!" they cried. "Braddock was killed! They had 
seen wounded officers borne off from the field in bloody 
sheets! The troops were all cut to pieces!" A panic fell 
upon the camp. The drums beat to arms. Many of the sol- 
diers, wagoners, and attendants took to flight; but most of 
them were forced back by the sentinels. 

Washington arrived at the camp in the evening, and 

20-4 U/or^s of U/asl?ir;$ton Irving 

found the agitation still prevailing. The orders which he 
brought were executed during the night, and he was in the 
saddle early in the morning, accompanying the convoy of 
supplies. At Gist's plantation, about thirteen miles off, he 
met Gage and his scanty force escorting Braddock and his 
wounded officers. Captain Stewart and a sad remnant of 
the Virginia light horse still accompanied the general as his 
guard. The captain had been unremitting in his attentions 
to him during the retreat. There was a halt of one day at 
Dunbar's camp for the repose and relief of the wounded. 
On the 13th they resumed their melancholy march, and that 
night reached the Great Meadows. 

The proud spirit of Braddock was broken by his defeat. 
He remained silent the first evening after the battle, only 
ejaculating at night, "Who would have thought it!" He 
was equally silent the following day; yet hope still seemed 
to linger in his breast, from another ejaculation: "We shall 
better know how to deal with them another time!" * 

He was grateful for the attentions paid to him by Cap- 
tain Stewart and Washington, and more than once, it is said, 
expressed his admiration of the gallantry displayed by the 
Virginians in the action. It is said, moreover, that in his 
last moments he apologized to Washington for the petulance 
with which he had rejected his advice, and bequeathed to 
him his favorite charger and his faithful servant, Bishop, 
who had helped to convey him from the field. 

* Captain Orme, who gave these particulars to Dr. Frank- 
lin, says that Braddock "died a few minutes after." This, 
according to his account, was on the second day; whereas 
the general survived upward of four days. Orme, being 
conveyed on a litter at some distance from the general, could 
only speaks of his mood from hearsay. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 205 

Some of these facts, it is true, rest on tradition, yet we 
are willing to believe them, as they impart a gleam of just 
and generous feeling to his closing scene. He died on the 
night of the 13th at the Great Meadows, the place of Wash- 
ington's discomfiture in the previous year. His obsequies 
were performed before break of day. The chaplain having 
been wounded, Washington read the funeral service. All 
was done in sadness, and without parade, so as not to attract 
the attention of lurking savages, who might discover and 
outrage his grave. It is doubtful even whether a volley was 
fired over it, that last military honor which he had recently 
paid to the remains of an Indian warrior. The place of his 
sepulture, however, is still known, and pointed out. 

Reproach spared him not, even when in his grave. The 
failure of the expedition was attributed both in England and 
America to his obstinacy, his technical pedantry, and his 
military conceit. He had been continually warned to be on 
his guard against ambush and surprise, but without avail. 
Had he taken the advice urged on him by Washington and 
others to employ scouting parties of Indians and ran- 
gers, he would never have been so signally surprised and 

Still his dauntless conduct on the field of battle shows 
him to have been a man of fearless spirit; and he was uni- 
versally allowed to be an accomplished disciplinarian. His 
melancholy end, too, disarms censure of its asperity. What- 
ever may have been his faults and errors, he, in a manner, 
expiated them by the hardest lot that can befall a brave sol- 
dier, ambitious of renown — an unhonored grave in a strange 
land ; a memory clouded by misfortune, and a name forever 
coupled with defeat. 

806 U/or^s of U/asbir)$top Iruir>$ 


In narrating the expedition of Braddock we have fre- 
quently cited the journals of Captain Orme and of the "Sea- 
men's Detachment"; they were procured in England by the 
Hon. Joseph R. Ingersoll, while Minister at the Court of St. 
James, and recently published by the Historical Society of 
Pennsylvania: ably edited, and illustrated with an admir- 
able Introductory Memoir by Winthrop Sargent, Esq., mem- 
ber of that society. 


Arrival at Fort Cumberland — Letters of Washington to his 
Family — Panic of Dunbar — Triumph of the French 

The obsequies of the unfortunate Braddock being fin- 
ished, the escort continued its retreat with the sick and 
wounded. Washington, assisted by Dr. Craik, watched 
with assiduity over his comrades, Orme and Morris. As 
the horses which bore their litters were nearly knocked up, 
ne dispatched messengers to the commander of Fort Cum- 
berland, requesting that others might be sent on, and that 
comfortable quarters might be prepared for the reception of 
those officers. 

On the 17th the sad cavalcade reached the fort, and were 
relieved from the incessant apprehension of pursuit. Here, 
too, flying reports had preceded them, brought by fugitives 
from the battle ; who, with the disposition usual in such cases 
to exaggerate, had represented the whole army as massacred. 
Fearing these reports might reach home and affect his fam- 
ily, Washington wrote to his mother, and his brother, John 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi} 207 

Augustine, apprising them of his safety. "The Virginia 
troops," says he, in a letter to his mother, "showed a good 
deal of bravery, and were nearly all killed. . . . The das- 
tardly behavior of those they called regulars exposed all oth- 
ers that were ordered to do their duty to almost certain death; 
and, at last, in despite of all the efforts of the officers to the 
contrary, they ran, as sheep pursued by dogs, and it was 
impossible to rally them." 

To his brother he writes: "As I have heard, since my 
arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death 
and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradict- 
ing the first, and of assuring you that I have not composed 
the latter. But, by the all-powerful dispensations of Provi- 
dence, I have been protected beyond all human probability 
or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat and 
two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, though death 
was leveling my companions on every side of me ! 

"We have been most scandalously beaten by a trifling 
body of men, but fatigue and want of time prevent me from 
giving you any of the details until I have the happiness of 
seeing you at Mount Vernon, which I now most earnestly 
wish for, since we are driven in thus far. A feeble state of 
health obliges me to halt here for two or three days to re 
cover a little strength, that I may thereby be enabled to 
proceed homeward with more ease." 

Dunbar arrived shortly afterward with the remainder of 
the army. No one seems to have shared more largely in the 
panic of the vulgar than that officer. From the moment he 
received tidings of the defeat, his camp became a scene of 
confusion. All the ammunition, stores and artillery were 
destroyed, to prevent, it was said, their falling into the hands 
of the enemy ; but, as it was afterward alleged, to relieve 

208 U/or^s of U/as^i^^toi) Irvir^o; 

the terror-stricken commander from all encumbrances, and 
furnish him with more horses in his flight toward the settle- 

At Cumberland his forces amounted to fifteen hundred 
effective men ; enough for a brave stand to protect the fron- 
tier, and recover some of the lost honor; but he merely 
paused to leave the sick and wounded under care of two Vir- 
ginia and Maryland companies, and some of the train, and 
then continued his hasty march, or rather flight, through 
the country, not thinking himself safe, as was sneeringly 
intimated, until he arrived in Philadelphia, where the in- 
habitants could protect him. 

The true reason why the enemy did not pursue the re- 
treating army was not known until some time afterward, 
and added to the disgrace of the defeat. They were not the 
main force of the French, but a mere detachment of 72 regu- 
lars, 146 Canadians and 637 Indians, 855 in all, led by Cap- 
tain de Beaujeu. De Contrecceur, the commander of Fort 
Duquesne, had received information, through his scouts, 
that the English, three thousand strong, were within six 
leagues of his fort. Despairing of making an effectual de- 
fense against such a superior force, he was balancing in his 
mind whether to abandon his fort without waiting their ar- 
rival, or to capitulate on honorable terms. In this dilemma 
Beaujeu prevailed on him to let him sally forth with a de- 
tachment to form an ambush and give check to the enemy. 
De Beaujeu was to have taken post at the river, and dis- 
puted the passage at the ford. For that purpose he was 
hurrying forward when discovered by the pioneers of Gage's 
advance party. He was a gallant officer, and fell at the 
beginning of the fight. The whole number of killed and 
wounded of French and Indians did not exceed seventy. 

Cife of U/a8t?ir><$toi) 209 

Such was the scanty force which the imagination of the 
panic-stricken army had magnified into a great host, and 
from which they had fled in breathless terror, abandoning 
the whole frontier. No one could be more surprised than 
the French commander himself, when the ambuscading party 
returned in triumph with a long train of pack-horses laden 
with booty, the savages uncouthly clad in the garments of 
the slain, grenadier caps, officers' gold-laced coats, and glit- 
tering epaulets; flourishing swords and sabers, or firing off 
muskets, and uttering fiendlike yells of victory. But when 
De Contrecceur was informed of the utter rout and destruc- 
tion of the much-dreaded British army, his joy was com- 
plete. He ordered the guns of the fort to be fired in triumph, 
and sent out troops in pursuit of the fugitives. 

The affair of Braddock remains a memorable event in 
American history, and has been characterized as "the most 
extraordinary victory ever obtained, and the furthest flight 
ever made." It struck a fatal blow to the deference for 
British prowess, which once amounted almost to bigotry 
throughout the provinces. "This whole transaction," ob- 
serves Franklin, in his autobiography, "gave us the first 
suspicion that our exalted ideas of the prowess of British 
regular troops had not been well founded." 

£1G U/orl{8 of ll/as^ir^ton Irving 


Costs of Campaigning — Measures for Public Safety — Washington in 
Command — Headquarters at Winchester — Lord Fairfax and his 
Troop of Horse — Indian Ravages — Panic at Winchester — Cause 
of the Alarm — Operations elsewhere — Shirley against Niagara — 
Johnson against Crown Point — Affair at Lake George — Death 
of Dieskau 

Washington arrived at Mount Vernon on the 26th of 
July, still in feeble condition from his long illness. His 
campaigning, thus far, had trenched upon his private fort- 
une, and impaired one of the best of constitutions. 

In a letter to his brother Augustine, then a member of 
Assembly at Williamsburg, he casts up the result of his 
frontier experience. "I was employed, " writes he, "to go 
a journey in the winter, when I believe few or none would 
have undertaken it, and what did I get by it? — my expenses 
borne ! I was then appointed, with trifling pay, to conduct 
a handful of men to the Ohio. What did I get by that? 
Why, after putting myself to a considerable expense in equip- 
ping and providing necessaries for the campaign, I went out, 
was soundly beaten, and lost all! Came in, and had my 
commission taken from me; or, in other words, my com- 
mand reduced, under pretense of an order from home (Eng- 
land). I then went out a volunteer with General Braddock, 
and lost all my horses, and many other things. But this 
being a voluntary act, I ought not to have mentioned it ; nor 
should I have done it, were it not to show that I have been 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)$toi) 211 

on the losing order ever since I entered the service, which is 
now nearly two years. ' ' 

What a striking lesson is furnished by this brief sum- 
mary ! How little was he aware of the vast advantages he 
was acquiring in this school of bitter experience! " In the 
hand of Heaven he stood," to be shaped and trained for its 
great purpose; and every trial and vicissitude of his early 
life but fitted him to cope with one or other of the varied and 
multifarious duties of his future destiny. 

But though, under the saddening influence of debility 
and defeat, he might count the cost of his campaigning, the 
martial spirit still burned within him. His connection with 
the army, it is true, had ceased at the death of Braddock, 
but his military duties continued as adjutant-general of the 
northern division of the province, and he immediately issued 
orders for the county lieutenants to hold the militia in readi- 
ness for parade and exercise, foreseeing that, in the present 
defenseless state of the frontier, there would be need of their 

Tidings of the rout and retreat of the army had circulated 
far and near, and spread consternation throughout the coun- 
try. Immediate incursions both of French and Indians were 
apprehended; and volunteer companies began to form, for 
the purpose of marching across the mountains to the scene 
of danger. It was intimated to Washington that his ser- 
vices would again be wanted on the frontier. He declared 
instantly that he was ready to serve his country to the ex- 
tent of his powers ; but never on the same terms as here- 

On the 4th of August, Governor Dinwiddie convened the 
Assembly, to devise measures for the public safety. The 
sense of danger had quickened the slow patriotism of the 

212 U/or^s of U/asbio^tor) Iruip^ 

burgesses ; they no longer held back supplies ; forty thousand 
pounds were promptly voted, and orders issued for the rais- 
ing of a regiment of one thousand men. 

Washington's friends urged him to present himself at 
"Williamsburg as a candidate for the command ; they were 
confident of his success, notwithstanding that strong interest 
was making for the governor's favorite, Colonel Innes. 

With mingled modesty and pride, Washington declined 
to be a solicitor. The only terms, he said, on which he 
would accept a command, were a certainty as to rank and 
emoluments, a right to appoint his field officers, and the sup- 
ply of a sufficient military chest ; but to solicit the command, 
and, at the same time, to make stipulations, would be a little 
incongruous, and carry with it the face of self-sufficiency. 
"If," added he, "the command should be offered to me, the 
case will then be altered, as I should be at liberty to make 
such objections as reason, and my small experience, have 
pointed out." 

While this was i; agitation, he received letters from his 
mother, again imploring him not to risk himself in these 
frontier wars. His answer was characteristic, blending the 
filial deference with which he was accustomed from child- 
hood to treat her with a calm patriotism of the Roman 

"Honored Madam: — If it is in my power to avoid going 
to the Ohio again, I shall ; but if the command is pressed 
upon me by the general voice of the country, and offered 
upon such terms as cannot be objected against, it would re- 
flect dishonor on me to refuse it ; and that, I am sure, must. 
and ought to, give you greater uneasiness, than my going 
in an honorable command. Upon no other terms will I 
accept it. At present I have no proposals made to me, nor 

Cife of U/a8t?ii)<$toi> 213 

have I any advice of such an intention, except from private 
hands. ' ' 

On the very day that this letter was dispatched (Aug. 
14), he received intelligence of his appointment to the com- 
mand on the terms specified in his letters to his friends. His 
commission nominated him commander-in-chief of all the 
forces raised or to be raised in the colony. The Assembly 
also voted three hundred pounds to him, and proportionate 
sums to the other officers, and to the privates of the Virginia 
companies, in consideration of their gallant conduct, and 
their losses in the late battle. 

The officers next in command under him were Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Adam Stephens and Major Andrew Lewis. The 
former, it will be recollected, had been with him in the un- 
fortunate affair at the Great Meadows ; his advance in rank 
shows that his conduct had been meritorious. 

The appointment of Washington to his present station 
was the more gratifying and honorable from being a popu- 
lar one, made in deference to public sentiment; to which 
Governor Dinwiddie was obliged to sacrifice his strong in- 
clination in favor of Colonel Innes. It is thought that the 
governor never afterward regarded Washington with a 
friendly eye. His conduct toward him subsequently was 
on various occasions cold and ungracious.* 

It is worthy of note that the early popularity of Wash- 
ington was not the result of brilliant achievements nor sig- 
nal success ; on the contrary, it rose among trials and re- 
verses, and may almost be said to have been the fruit of 
defeats. It remains an honorable testimony of Virginian 
intelligence, that the sterling, enduring, but undazzling 

Sparks' Writings of Washington, vol. ii., p. 161, note. 

214- U/or^s of ll/as^ir^ton Iruio$ 

qualities of "Washington were thus early discerned and ap- 
preciated, though only heralded by misfortunes. The ad- 
mirable manner in which he had conducted himself under 
these misfortunes, and the sagacity and practical wisdom he 
had displayed on all occasions, were universally acknowl- 
edged; and it was observed that, had his modest counsels 
been adopted by the unfortunate Braddock, a totally differ- 
ent result might have attended the late campaign. 

An instance of this high appreciation of his merits occurs 
in a sermon preached on the 17th of August by the Rev. 
Samuel Davis, wherein he cites him as "that heroic youth, 
Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence 
has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some 
important service to his country." The expressions of the 
worthy clergyman may have been deemed enthusiastic at 
the time; viewed in connection with subsequent events they 
appear almost prophetic. 

Having held a conference with Governor Dinwiddie at 
Williamsburg, and received his instructions, Washington re- 
paired, on the 14th of September, to Winchester, where he 
fixed his headquarters. It was a place as yet of trifling 
magnitude, but important from its position ; being a central 
point where the main roads met, leading from north to south, 
and east to west, and commanding the channels of traffic 
and communication between some of the most important 
colonies and of a great extent of frontier. 

Here he was brought into frequent and cordial communi- 
cation with his old friend Lord Fairfax. The stir of war 
had revived the spark of that military fire which animated 
the veteran nobleman in the da^s of his youth, when an 
officer in the cavalry regiment of the Blues. He was lord- 
lieutenant of the county. Greenway Court was his head- 

Cffe of U/asI?i^top 215 

quarters. He had organized a troop of horse, which occa- 
sionally was exercised about the lawn of his domain, and he 
was now as prompt to mount his steed for a cavalry parade 
as he ever was for a fox chase. The arrival of Washington 
frequently brought the old nobleman to Winchester to aid 
the young commander with his counsels or his sword. 

His services were soon put in requisition. Washington 
having visited the frontier posts, established recruiting places, 
and taken other measures of security, had set off for Wil- 
liamsburg on military business, when an express arrived at 
Winchester from Colonel Stephens, who commanded at Fort 
Cumberland, giving the alarm that a body of Indians were 
ravaging the country, burning the houses and slaughtering 
the inhabitants. The express was instantly forwarded after 
Washington ; in the meantime, Lord Fairfax sent out orders 
for the militia of Fairfax and Prince William counties to 
arm and hasten to the defense of Winchester, where all was 
confusion and affright. One fearful account followed an- 
other. The whole country beyond it was said to be at the 
mercy of the savages. They had blockaded the rangers in 
the little fortresses or outposts provided for the protection 
of neighborhoods. They were advancing upon Winchester 
with fire, tomahawk, and scalping- knife. The country peo- 
ple were flocking into the town for safety — the townspeople 
were moving off to the settlements beyond the Blue Ridge. 
The beautiful valley of the Shenandoah was likely to become 
a scene of savage desolation. 

In the height of the confusion Washington rode into the 
town. He had been overtaken by Colonel Stephens* ex- 
press. His presence inspired some degree of confidence, 
and he succeeded in stopping most of the fugitives. He 
would have taken the field at once against the savages, be- 

216 U/or^s of \l/a8^ii><$tor> Iruir)$ 

lieving their numbers to be few ; but not more than twenty- 
five of the militia could be mustered for the service. The 
rest refused to stir — they would rather die with their wives 
and children. 

Expresses were sent off to hurry up the militia ordered 
out by Lord Fairfax. Scouts were ordered out to disco ve» 
the number of the foe, and convey assurances of succor to 
the rangers said to be blocked up in the fortresses, though 
Washington suspected the latter to be "more encompassed 
by fear than by the enemy." Smiths were set to work to 
furbish up and repair such firearms as were in the place, and 
wagons were sent off for musket balls, flints, and provisions. 

Instead, however, of animated co-operation, Washington 
was encountered by difficulties at every step. The wagons 
in question had to be impressed, and the wagoners compelled 
by force to assist. "No orders," writes he, "are obeyed but 
such as a party of soldiers or my own drawn sword enforces. 
"Without this, not a single horse, for the most earnest occa- 
sion, can be had — to such a pitch has the insolence of these 
people arrived, by having every point hitherto submitted to 
them. However, I have given up none, where his Majesty's 
ser^ce requires the contrary, and where my proceedings are 
justified by my instructions ; nor will I, unless they execute 
what they threaten — that is, blow out our brains." 

One is tempted to smile at this tirade about the "insolence 
of the people," and this zeal for "his majesty's service," 
on the part of Washington ; but he was as yet a young man 
r~\d a young officer; loyal to his sovereign, and with high 
notions of military authority, which he had acquired in the 
camp of Braddock. 

What he thus terms insolence was the dawning spirit of 
independence which he was afterward the foremost to cher- 

Cife of U/a8l?ii}<$toi) 217 

ish and promote; and which, in the present instance, had 
been provoked by the rough treatment from the military, 
which the wagoners and others of the yeomanry had experi- 
enced when employed in Braddock's campaign, and by the 
neglect to pay them for their services. Much of Washing- 
ton's difficulties also arose, doubtlessly, from the inefficiency 
of the military laws, for an amendment of which he had in 
vain made repeated applications to Governor Dinwiddie. 

In the meantime the panic and confusion increased. On 
Sunday an express hurried into town, breathless with haste 
and terror. The Indians, he said, were but twelve miles off; 
they had attacked the house of Isaac Julian ; the inhabitants 
were flying for their lives. Washington immediately ordered 
the town guards to be strengthened; armed some recruits 
who had just arrived, and sent out two scouts to reconnoiter 
the enemy. It was a sleepless night in Winchester. Horror 
increased with the dawn; before the men could be paraded 
a second express arrived, ten times more terrified than the 
former. The Indians were within four miles of the town, 
killing and destroying all before them. He had heard the 
constant firing of the savages and the shrieks of their vic- 

The terror of Winchester now passed all bounds. Wash- 
ington put himself at the head of about forty men, militia 
and recruits, and pushed for the scene of carnage. 

The result is almost too ludicrous for record. The whole 
cause of the alarm proved to be three drunken troopers, 
carousing, halloing, uttering the most unheard-of impreca- 
tions, and ever and anon firing off their pistols. Washington 
interrupted them in the midst of their revel and blasphemy, 
jtnd conducted them prisoners to town. 

The reported attack on the house of Isaac Julian proved 

* * * J— Vol. XII. 

318 U/or^s of U/asbip^tor) Irvipo; 

equally an absurd exaggeration. The ferocious party of 
Indians turned out to be a mulatto and a negro in quest 
of cattle. They had been seen by a child of Julian, who 
alarmed his father, who alarmed the neighborhood. 

" These circumstances, ' ' says Washington, "show what 
a panic prevails among the people ; how much they are all 
alarmed at the most usual and customary cries ; and yet how 
impossible it is to get them to act in any respect for their 
common safety." 

They certainly present a lively picture of the feverish 
state of a frontier community, hourly in danger of Indian 
ravage and butchery ; than which no kind of warfare is more 
fraught with real and imaginary horrors. 

The alarm thus originating had spread throughout the 
country. A captain, who arrived with recruits from Alex- 
andria, reported that he had found the road across the Blue 
Ridge obstructed by crowds of people flying for their lives, 
whom he endeavored in vain to stop. They declared that 
Winchester was in flames! 

At length the band of Indians whose ravages had pro- 
duced this consternation throughout the land, and whose 
numbers did not exceed one hundred and fifty, being satiated 
with carnage, conflagration and plunder, retreated, bearing 
off spoils and captives. Intelligent scouts sent out by Wash- 
ington followed their traces, and brought back certain in- 
telligence that they had recrossed the Alleghany Mountains 
and returned to their homes on the Ohio. This report al- 
layed the public panic, and restored temporary quiet to the 
harassed frontier. 

Most of the Indians engaged in these ravages were Dela- 
wares and Shawnees, who, since Braddock's defeat, had been 
gained over by the French. A principal instigator was said 

Cife of U/a8l?iD<$ton 219 

to be Washington's old acquaintance, Shengis, and a reward 
was offered for his head. 

Scarooyadi, successor to the half- king, remained true to 
the English, and vindicated his people to the Governor and 
Council of Pennsylvania from the charge of having had any 
share in the late massacres. As to the defeat at the Monon- 
gahela, "it was owing," he said, "to the pride and ignorance 
of that great general (Braddock) that came from England. 
He is no w dead ; but he was a bad man when he was alive. 
He looked upon us as dogs, and would never hear anything 
that was said to him. "We often endeavored to advise him, 
and tell him of the danger he was in with his soldiers; but 
he never appeared pleased with us, and that was the reason 
that a great many of our warriors left him." * 

Scarooyadi was ready with his warriors to take up the 
hatchet again with their English brothers against the French. 
"Let us unite our strength," said he; "you are numerous, 
and all the English governors along your seashore can raise 
men enough; but don't let those that come from over the 
great seas be concerned any more. They are unfit to fight 
in the woods. Let us go ourselves — we that came out of 
this ground." 

No one felt more strongly than Washington the impor- 
tance, at this trying juncture, of securing the assistance of 
these forest warriors. "It is in their power," said he, "to 
be of infinite use to us; and without Indiani we shall never 
be able to cope with these cruel foes to our country." f 

Washington had now time to inform himself of the fate 
of the other enterprises included in this year's plan of mili- 

* Hazard's Register of Penn., v., 252, 266. 
t Letter to Dinwiddie. 

220 U/or^s of U/a8l?ir)$ton Iruiqd, 

tary operations. We shall briefly dispose of them for the 
sake of carrying on the general course of events. The his- 
tory of Washington is linked with the history of the colonies. 
The defeat of Braddock paralyzed the expedition against 
Niagara. Many of General Shirley's troops, which were 
assembled at Albany, struck with the consternation which 
it caused throughout the country, deserted. Most of the 
bateau men, who were to transport stores by various streams, 
returned home. It was near the end of August before 
Shirley was in force at Oswego. Time was lost in building 
boats for the lake. Storms and head winds ensued; then 
sickness: military incapacity in the general completed the 
list of impediments. Deferring the completion of the enter- 
prise until the following year, Shirley returned to Albany 
with the main part of his forces in October, leaving about 
seven hundred men to garrison the fortifications he had 
commenced at Oswego. 

To General William Johnson, it will be recollected, had 
been confided the expedition against Crown Point, on Lake 
Champlain. Preparations were made for it in Albany, 
whence the troops were to march, and the artillery, am- 
munition and stores to be conveyed up the Hudson to the 
carrying-place between that river and Lake St. Sacrament, 
as it was termed by the French, but Lake George, as John- 
son named it, in honor of his sovereign. At the carrying- 
place a fort was commenced, subsequently called Fort Ed- 
ward. Part of the troops remained under General Lyman, 
to complete and garrison it ; the main force proceeded under 
General Johnson to Lake George, the plan being to descend 
that lake to its outlet at Ticonderoga, in Lake Champlain. 
Having to attend the arrival of bateaux forwarded for the 
purpose from Albany by the carrying-place, Johnson en- 

Cife of U/asl?i^toi) 221 

camped at the south end of the lake. He had with him 
between five and six thousand troops of New York and New 
England, and a host of Mohawk warriors, loyally devoted 
to him. 

It so happened that a French force of upward of three 
thousand men, under the Baron de Dieskau, an old general 
of high reputation, had recently arrived at Quebec, destined 
against Oswego. The baron had proceeded to Montreal, and 
sent forward thence seven hundred of his troops, when news 
arrived of the army gathering on Lake George for the attack 
on Crown Point, perhaps for an inroad into Canada. The 
public were in consternation ; yielding to their importunities, 
the baron took post at Crown Point for its defense. Besides 
his regular troops, he had with him eight hundred Canadians, 
and seven hundred Indians of different tribes. The latter 
were under the general command of the Chevalier Legardeur 
de St. Pierre, the veteran officer to whom "Washington had 
delivered the dispatches of Governor Dinwiddie on his diplo- 
matic mission to the frontier. The chevalier was a man of 
great influence among the Indians. 

In the meantime Johnson remained encamped at the 
south end of Lake George, awaiting the arrival of the 
bateaux. The camp was protected in the rear by the lake, 
in front by a bulwark of felled trees; and was flanked by 
thickly wooded swamps. 

On the 7th of September, the Indian scouts brought word 
that they had discovered three large roads made through the 
forest toward Fort Edward. An attack on that post was 
apprehended. Adams, a hardy wagoner, rode express with 
orders to the commander to draw all the troops within the 
works. About midnight came other scouts. They had seen 
the French within four miles of the carrying-place. They 

$22 U/orl^s of U/as^ir^toi) Irv!r?$ 

had heard the report of a musket, and the voice of a man 
crying for mercy, supposed to be the unfortunate Adams. 
In the morning Colonel Williams was detached, with one 
thousand men and two hundred Indians to intercept the 
enemy in their retreat. 

Within two hours after their departure a heavy fire of 
musketry, in the midst of the forest, about three or four 
miles off, told of a warm encounter. The drums beat to 
arms; all were at their posts. The firing grew sharper and 
sharper, and nearer and nearer. The detachment under 
Williams was evidently retreating. Colonel Cole was sent 
with three hundred men to cover their retreat. The breast- 
work of trees was manned. Some heavy cannon were 
dragged up to strengthen the front. A number of men 
were stationed with a field -piece on an eminence on the left 

In a short time fugitives made their appearance; first 
singly, then in masses, flying in confusion, with a rattling 
fire behind them, and the horrible Indian warwhoop. Con- 
sternation seized upon the camp, especially when the French 
emerged from the forest in battle array, led by the Baron 
de Dieskau, the gallant commander of Crown Point. Had 
all his troops been as daring as himself, the camp might 
have been carried by assault; but the Canadians aod Indians 
held back, posted themselves behind trees, and took to bush- 

The baron was left with his regulars (two hundred grena- 
diers) in front of the camp. He kept up a fire by platoons, 
but at too great a distance to do much mischief ; the Can- 
adians and Indians fired from their coverts. The artillery 
played on them in return. The camp, having recovered 
from its panic, opened a fire of musketry. The engagement 

Cife of U7asl?ir><$ton 223 

became general. The French grenadiers stood their ground 
bravely for a long time, but were dreadfully cut up by the 
artillery and small arms. The action slackened on the part 
of the French, until, after a long contest, they gave way. 
Johnson's men and the Indians then leaped over the breast- 
work, and a chance-medley fight ensued, that ended in the 
slaughter, rout, or capture of the enemy. 

The Baron de Dieskau had been disabled by a wound in 
the leg. One of his men, who endeavored to assist him, 
was shot down by his side. The baron, left alone in the 
retreat, was found by the pursuers leaning against the stump 
of a tree. As they approached, he felt for his watch to in- 
sure kind treatment by delivering it up. A soldier, thinking 
he was drawing forth a pistol to defend himself, shot him 
through the hips. He was conveyed a prisoner to the camp, 
but ultimately died of his wounds. 

The baron had really set off from Crown Point to surprise 
Fort Edward, and, if successful, to push on to Albany and 
Schenectady ; lay them in ashes, and cut off all communica- 
tion with Oswego. The Canadians and Indians, however, 
refused to attack the fort, fearful of its cannon; he had 
changed his plan, therefore, and determined to surprise the 
camp. In the encounter with the detachment under Wil- 
liams the brave Chevalier Legardeur de St. Pierre lost his 
life. On the part of the Americans, Hendrick, a famous old 
Mohawk sachem, grand ally of General Johnson, was slain. 

Johnson himself received a slight wound early in the 
action, and retired to his tent. He did not follow up the 
victory as he should have done, alleging that it was first 
necessary to build a strong fort at his encampment, by way 
of keeping up a communication with Albany, and by the 
time this was completed it would be too late to advance 

224 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$t:oi? Irvii?$ 

against Crown Point. He accordingly erected a stockaded 
fort, which received the name of William Henry ; and, hav- 
ing garrisoned it, returned to Albany. His services, al- 
though they gained him no laurel- wreath, were rewarded 
by government with five thousand pounds and a baronetcy; 
and he was made Superintendent of Indian Affairs.* 


Reform in the Militia Laws — Discipline of the Troops — Dag worthy 
and the Question of Precedence — Washington's Journey to 
Boston — Style of Traveling — Conference with Shirley — The 
Earl of Loudoun — Military Rule for the Colonies — Washington 
at New York — Miss Mary Philipse 

Mortifying experience had convinced Washington of 
the inefficiency of the militia laws, and he now set about 
effecting a reformation. Through his great and persevering 
efforts, an act was passed in the Virginia Legislature giving 
prompt operation to courts-martial; punishing insubordina- 
tion, mutiny, and desertion with adequate severity ; strength- 
ening the authority of a commander, so as to enable him to 
enforce order and discipline among officers as well as pri- 
vates; and to avail himself, in time of emergency, and for 
the common safety, of the means and services of individuals. 

This being effected, he proceeded to fill up his companies 
and to enforce this newly defined authority within his camp. 

* Johnson's Letter to the Colonial Governors, Sept. 9, 
1753. London Mag., 1755, p. 544. Holmes' Am. Annals, 
vol. ii., p. 63. 4th edit. 1829. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 225 

All gaming, drinking, quarreling, swearing and similar ex- 
cesses were prohibited under severe penalties. 

In disciplining his men, they were instructed not merely 
in ordinary and regular tactics, but in all the strategy of 
Indian warfare, and what is called " bush- fighting" — a 
knowledge indispensable in the wild wars of the wilderness. 
Stockaded forts, too, were constructed at various points, as 
places of refuge and defense, in exposed neighborhoods. 
Under shelter of these, the inhabitants began to return to 
their deserted homes. A shorter and better road, also, was 
opened by him between Winchester and Cumberland, for the 
transmission of re-enforcements and supplies. 

His exertions, however, were impeded by one of those 
questions of precedence which had so often annoyed him, 
arising from the difference between crown and provincial 
commissions. Maryland having by a scanty appropriation 
raised a small militia force, stationed Captain Dagworthy, 
with a company of thirty men, at Fort Cumberland, which 
stood within the boundaries of that province. Dagworthy 
had served in Canada in the preceding war, and had received 
a king's commission. This he had since commuted for half- 
pay, and, of course, had virtually parted with its privileges. 
He was nothing more, therefore, than a Maryland provincial 
captain, at the head of thirty men. He now, however, as- 
sumed to act under his royal commission, and refused to 
obey the orders of any officer, however high his rank, who 
merely held his commission from a governor. Nay, when 
Governor, or rather Colonel Innes, who commanded at the 
fort, was called away to North Carolina, by his private 
affairs, the captain took upon himself the command, and 
insisted upon it as his right. 

Parties instantly arose, and quarrels ensued among the 

226 U/orKs of U/asl?iD$toi) Iruii)^ 

inferior officers ; grave questions were agitated between the 
Governors of Maryland and Virginia, as to the fort itself; 
the former claiming it as within his province, the latter in- 
sisting that, as it had been built according to orders sent by 
the king, it was the king's fort, and could not be subject to 
the authority of Maryland. 

Washington refrained from mingling in this dispute; but 
intimated that if the commander-in-chief of the forces of 
Virginia must yield precedence to a Maryland captain of 
thirty men, he should have to resign his commission, as he 
had been compelled to do before, by a question of military 

So difficult was it, however, to settle these disputes of 
precedence, especially where the claims of two governors 
came in collision, that it was determined to refer the matter 
to Major-general Shirley, who had succeeded Braddock in 
the general command of the colonies. For this purpose 
Washington was to go to Boston, obtain a decision from 
Shirley of the point in dispute, and a general regulation, by 
which these difficulties could be prevented in future. It was 
thought, also, that in a conference with the commander-in- 
chief he might inform himself of the military measures in 

Accordingly, on the 4th of February (1756), leaving Col- 
onel Adam Stephens in command of the troops, Washington 
set out on his mission, accompanied by his aid-de-camp, 
Captain George Mercer of Virginia, and Captain Stewart of 
the Virginia light horse ; the officer who had taken care of 
General Braddock in his last moments. 

In those days the conveniences of traveling, even between 
our main cities, were few, and the roads execrable. The 
party, therefore, traveled in Virginia style, on horseback, 

Cife of U/a8l?ir>$tor? 227 

attended by their black servants in livery.* In this way 
they accomplished a journey of five hundred miles in the 
depth of winter ; stopping for some days at Philadelphia and 
New York. Those cities were then comparatively small, 
and the arrival of a party of young Southern officers at- 
tracted attention. The late disastrous battle was still the 
theme of every tongue, and the honorable way in which 
these young officers had acquitted themselves in it made 
them objects of universal interest. Washington's fame, 
especially, had gone before him ; having been spread by the 
officers who had served with him, and by the public honors 
decreed him by the Virginia Legislature. "Your name," 
wrote his former fellow-campaigner, Gist, in a letter dated 
in the preceding autumn, "is more talked of in Philadelphia 

* We have hitherto treated of Washington in his cam- 
paigns in the wilderness, frugal and scanty in his equip- 
ments, often, very probably, in little better than hunter's 
garb. His present excursion through some of the Atlantic 
cities presents him in a different aspect. His recent inter- 
course with young British officers had probably elevated his 
notions as to style in dress and appearance ; at least we are 
inclined to suspect so from the following aristocratical order 
for clothes, sent, shortly before the time in question, to his 
correspondent in London : 

"2 complete livery suits for servants; with a spare cloak, 
and all other necessary trimmings for two suits more. I 
would have you choose the livery by our arms, only as the 
field of the arms is white, I think the clothes had better not 
be quite so, but nearly like the inclosed. The trimmings and 
facings of scarlet, and a scarlet waistcoat. If livery lace is 
not quite disused, I should be glad to have the cloaks laced. 
I like that fashion best, and two silver-laced hats for the 
above servants. 

"1 set of horse furniture, with livery lace, with the Wash- 
ington crest on the housings, etc. The cloak to be of the 
same piece and color of the clothes. 

"3 gold and scarlet sword-knots. 3 silver and blue do. 
1 fashionable gold-laced hat." 

228 U/orKs of UYa8l?ii)$toi) Irvir;<$ 

than that of any other person in the army, and everybody 
seems willing to venture under your command." 

With these prepossessions in his favor, when we consider 
Washington's noble person and demeanor, his consummate 
horsemanship, the admirable horses he was accustomed to 
ride, and the aristocratical style of his equipments, we may 
imagine the effect produced by himself and his little caval- 
cade, as they clattered through the streets of Philadelphia, 
New York, and Boston. It is needless to say, their sojourn 
in each city was a continual fete. 

The mission to General Shirley was entirely successful 
as to the question of rank. A written order from the corn- 
man der-in-cbief determined that Dagworthy was entitled to 
the rank of a provincial captain only, and, of course, must 
on all occasions give precedence to Colonel Washington, as 
a provincial field officer. The latter was disappointed, how- 
ever, in the hope of getting himself and his officers put upon 
the regular establishment, with commissions from the king, 
and had to remain subjected to mortifying questions of rank 
and etiquette, when serving in company with regular 

From General Shirley he learned that the main objects of 
the ensuing campaign would be the reduction of Fort Niag- 
ara, so as to cut off the communication between Canada and 
Louisiana, the capture of Ticonderoga and Crown Point as 
a measure of safety for New York, the besieging of Fort 
Duquesne, and the menacing of Quebec by a body of troops 
which were to advance by the Kennebec River. 

The official career of General Shirley was drawing to a 
close. Though a man of good parts, he had always, until 
recently, acted in a civil capacity, and proved incompetent 
to conduct military operations. He was recalled to Eng- 

Cifc of U/asr;ip$tor; 229 

land, and was to be superseded by General Abercrombie, 
who was coming out with two regiments. 

The general command in America, however, was to be 
held by the Earl of Loudoun, who was invested with powers 
almost equal to those of a viceroy, being placed above all the 
colonial governors. These might claim to be civil and mili- 
tary representatives of their sovereign within their respective 
colonies ; but, even there, were bound to defer and yield 
precedence to this their official superior. This was part of 
a plan devised long ago, but now first brought into opera- 
tion, by which the ministry hoped to unite the colonies under 
military rule and oblige the Assemblies, magistrates and 
people to furnish quarters and provide a general fund sub- 
ject to the control of this military dictator. 

Besides his general command, the Earl of Loudoun was 
to be governor of Virginia and colonel of a royal American 
regiment of four battalions, to be raised in the colonies, but 
furnished with officers who, like himself, had seen foreign 
service. The campaign would open on his arrival, which, 
it was expected, would be early in the spring; and brilliant 
results were anticipated. 

Washington remained ten days in Boston, attending, with 
great interest, the meetings of the Massachusetts Legislature, 
in which the plan of military operations was ably discussed ; 
and receiving the most hospitable attentions from the polite 
and intelligent society of the place, after which he returned 
to New York. 

Tradition gives very different motives from those of busi- 
ness for his two sojourns in the latter city. He found there 
an early friend and schoolmate, Beverly Robinson, son of 
John Robinson, speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses. 
He was living happily and prosperously with a young and 

230 U/or^s of U/as^ip^tor) Irving 

wealthy bride, having married one of the nieces and heir- 
esses of Mr. Adolphus Philipse, a rich landholder, whose 
manor-house is still to be seen on the banks of the Hudson. 
At the house of Mr. Beverly Robinson, where Washington 
was an honored guest, he met Miss Mary Philipse, sister of 
and co-heiress with Mrs. Robinson, a young lady whose 
personal attractions are said to have rivaled her reputed 

We have already given an instance of Washington's 
early sensibility to female charms. A life, however, of con- 
stant activity and care, passed for the most part in the 
wilderness and on the frontier, far from female society, had 
left little mood or leisure for the indulgence of the tender 
sentiment; but made him more sensible, in the present brief 
interval of gay and social life, to the attractions of an ele- 
gant woman, brought up in the polite circle of New York. 

That he was an open admirer of Miss Philipse is a his- 
torical fact; that he sought her hand, but was refused, is 
traditional, and not very probable. His military rank, his 
early laurels and distinguished presence, were all calculated 
to win favor* in female eyes; but his sojourn in New York 
was brief; he may have been diffident in urging his suit 
with a lady accustomed to the homage of society and sur- 
rounded by admirers. The most probable version of the 
story is, that he was called away by his public duties before 
he had made sufficient approaches in his siege of the lady's 
heart to warrant a summons to surrender. In the latter 
part of March we find him at Williamsburg attending the 
opening of the Legislature of Virginia, eager to promote 
measures for the protection of the frontier and the capture 
of Fort Duquesne, the leading object of his ambition. Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania were erecting forts for the defense 

Cife of lI/a8l?ir)<$tor) 231 

of their own borders, but showed no disposition to co-operate 
with Virginia in the field; and artillery, artillerymen and 
engineers were wanting for an attack on fortified places, 
Washington urged, therefore, an augmentation of the pro- 
vincial forces and various improvements in the militia laws. 
While thus engaged he received a letter from a friend 
and confidant in New York, warning him to hasten back to 
that city before it was too late, as Captain Morris, who had 
been his fellow aid-de-camp under Braddock, was laying 
close siege to Miss Philipse. Sterner alarms, however, sum- 
moned him in another direction. Expresses from Winchester 
brought word that the French had made another sortie from 
Fort Duquesne, accompanied by a band of savages, and were 
spreading terror and desolation through the country. In 
this moment of exigency all softer claims were forgotten; 
Washington repaired in all haste to his post at Winchester, 
and Captain Morris was left to urge his suit unrivaled and 
carry off the prize. 


Troubles in the Shenandoah Valley — Greenway Court and Lord 
Fairfax in danger — Alarms at Winchester — Washington ap- 
pealed to for Protection — Attacked by the Virginia Press — 
Honored by the Public — Projects for Defense — Suggestions of 
Washington — The Gentlemen Associators — Retreat of the Sav- 
ages — Expedition against Kittanning — Captain Hugh Mercer — 
His Struggle through the Wilderness 

Report had not exaggerated the troubles of the frontier. 
It was marauded by merciless bands of savages, led, in some 
instances, by Frenchmen. Travelers were murdered, farm- 

232 U/or^s of U/ast?ir;$too Iruip^ 

houses burned down, families butchered, and even stockaded 
forts, or houses of refuge, attacked in open day. The ma- 
rauders had crossed the mountains and penetrated the valley 
of the Shenandoah ; and several persons had fallen beneath 
the tomahawk in the neighborhood of Winchester. 

Washington's old friend, Lord Fairfax, found himself no 
longer safe in his rural abode. Greenway Court was in the 
midst of a woodland region, affording a covert approach for 
the stealthy savage. His lordship was considered a great 
chief, whose scalp would be an inestimable trophy for an 
Indian warrior. Fears were entertained, therefore, by his 
friends, that an attempt would be made to surprise him in 
his green- wood castle. His nephew, Colonel Martin, of the 
militia, who resided with him, suggested the expediency of 
a removal to the lower settlements, beyond the Blue Ridge. 
The high-spirited old nobleman demurred; his heart cleaved 
to the home which he had formed for himself in the wilder 
ness. "I am an old man," said he, "and it is of little im- 
portance whether I fall by the tomahawk or die of disease 
and old age ; but you are young, and, it is to be hoped, have 
many years before you, therefore decide for us both; my 
only fear is, that if we retire the whole district will break up 
and take to flight; and this fine country, which I have been 
at such cost and trouble to improve, will again become a 

Colonel Martin took but a short time to deliberate. He 
knew the fearless character of his uncle, and perceived what 
was his inclination. He considered that his lordship had 
numerous retainers, white and black, with hardy huntsmen 
and foresters to rally round him, and that Greenway Court 
was at no great distance from Winchester ; he decided, there- 
fore, that they should remain, and abide the course of events. 

Cife of U/astyp^tor) 233 

Washington, on his arrival at Winchester, found the in- 
habitants in great dismay. He resolved immediately to 
organize a force, composed partly of troops from Fort Cum- 
berland, partly of militia from Winchester and its vicinity, 
to put himself at its head, and " scour the woods and sus- 
pected places in all the mountains and valleys of this part 
of the frontier, in quest of the Indians and their more cruel 
associates. , ' 

He accordingly dispatched an express to Fort Cumber- 
land with orders for a detachment from the garrison; "but 
how," said he, "are men to be raised at Winchester, since 
orders are no longer regarded in the county?" 

Lord Fairfax, and other militia officers with whom he 
consulted, advised that each captain should call a private 
muster of his men, and read before them an address, or 
"exhortation" as it was called, being an appeal to their 
patriotism and fears, and a summons to assemble on the 
15th of April to enroll themselves for the projected moun- 
tain foray. 

This measure was adopted; the private musterings oc- 
curred; the exhortation was read; the time and place of 
assemblage appointed; but, when the day of enrollment 
arrived, not more than fifteen men appeared upon the 

In the meantime the express returned with sad ac- 
counts from Fort Cumberland. No troops could be fur- 
nished from that quarter. The garrison was scarcely strong 
enough for self-defense, having sent out detachments in 
different directions. The express had narrowly escaped with 
his life, having been fired upon repeatedly, his horse shot 
under him, and his clothes riddled with bullets. The roads, 
he said, were infested by savages; none but hunters, who 

234 U/orKs of U/a8t?ii?$toi> Irving 

knew how to thread the forests at night, could travel with 

Horrors accumulated at Winchester. Every hour brought 
its tale of terror, true or false, of houses burned, families 
massacred, or beleaguered and famishing in stockaded forts. 
The danger approached. A scouting party had been at- 
tacked in the Warm Spring Mountain, about twenty miles 
distant, by a large body of French and Indians, mostly on 
horseback. The captain of the scouting party and several 
of his men had been slain, and the rest put to flight. 

An attack on Winchester was apprehended, and the ter- 
rors of the people rose to agony. They now turned to Wash- 
ington as their main hope. The women surrounded him, 
holding up their children, and imploring him with tears and 
cries to save them from the savages. The youthful com- 
mander looked round on the suppliant crowd with a counte- 
nance beaming with pity, and a heart wrung with anguish. 
A letter to Governor Dinwiddie shows the conflict of his 
feelings. "I am too little acquainted with pathetic language 
to attempt a description of these people's distresses. But 
what can I do? I see their situation ; I know their danger, 
and participate their sufferings, without having it in my 
power to give them further relief than uncertain promises.' ' 
— "The supplicating tears of the women, and moving peti- 
tions of the men, melt me in such deadly sorrow that I 
solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer 
myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided 
that would contribute to the people's ease." 

The unstudied eloquence of this letter drew from the 
governor an instant order for a militia force from the upper 
counties to his assistance; but the Virginia newspapers, in 
descanting on the frontier troubles, threw discredit on the 

Cife of U/a8f?ii)$toi) 235 

army and its officers, and attached blame to its commander. 
Stung to the quick by this injustice, Washington publicly 
declared that nothing but the imminent danger of the times 
prevented him from instantly resigning a command from 
which he could never reap either honor or benefit. His 
sensitiveness called forth strong letters from his friends, 
assuring him of the high sense entertained at the seat of 
government, and elsewhere, of his merits and services. 
"Your good health and fortune are the toast of every table," 
wrote his early friend, Colonel Fairfax, at that time a mem- 
ber of the governor's council. "Your endeavors in the ser- 
vice and defense of your country must redound to your 

"Our hopes, dear George," wrote Mr. Robinson, the 
speaker of the House of Burgesses, "are all fixed on you for 
bringing our affairs to a happy issue. Consider what fatal 
consequences to your country your resigning the command 
at this time may be, especially as there is no doubt most of 
the officers will follow your example." 

In fact, the situation and services of the youthful com- 
mander, shut up in a frontier town, destitute of forces, sur- 
rounded by savage foes, gallantly, though despairingly, 
devoting himself to the safety of a suffering people, were 
properly understood throughout the country, and excited 
a glow of enthusiasm in his favor. The Legislature, too, 
began at length to act, but timidly and inefficiently. "The 
country knows her danger," writes one of the members, 
"but such is her parsimony that she is willing to wait for 
the rains to wet the powder, and the rats to eat the bow- 
strings of the enemy, rather than attempt to drive them 
from her frontiers." 

The measure of relief voted by the Assembly was an 

236 U/orKs of U/as^ip^top Irvii)$ 

additional appropriation of twenty thousand pounds, and an 
increase of the provincial force to fifteen hundred men. With 
this, it was proposed to erect and garrison a chain of frontier 
forts, extending through the ranges of the Alleghany Moun- 
tains, from the Potomac to the borders of North Carolina; 
a distance of between three and four hundred miles. This 
was one of the inconsiderate projects devised by Governor 

Washington, in letters to the governor and to the speaker 
of the House of Burgesses, urged the impolicy of such a 
plan, with their actual force and means. The forts, he ob- 
served, ought to be within fifteen or eighteen miles of each 
other, that their spies might be able to keep watch over the 
intervening country, otherwise the Indians would pass be- 
tween them unperceived, effect their ravages, and escape to 
the mountains, swamps, and ravines, before the troops from 
the forts could be assembled to pursue them. They ought 
each to be garrisoned with eighty or a hundred men, so as 
to afford detachments of sufficient strength, without leaving 
the garrison too weak ; for the Indians are the most stealthy 
and patient of spies and lurkers ; will lie in wait for days to- 
gether about small forts of the kind, and, if they find, by 
some chance prisoner, that the garrison is actually weak, 
will first surprise and cut off its scouting parties, and then 
attack the fort itself. It was evident, therefore, observed 
he, that to garrison properly such a line of forts would re- 
quire, at least, two thousand men. And even then, a line 
of such extent might be broken through at one end before 
the other end could yield assistance. Feint attacks, also, 
might be made at one point, while the real attack was made 
at another, quite distant ; and the country be overrun before 
its widely-posted defenders could be alarmed and concen- 

Cife of U/asl?ir><$too 237 

trated. Then must be taken into consideration the immense 
cost of building so many forts, and the constant and con- 
suming expense of supplies and transportation. 

His idea of a defensive plan was to build a strong fort at 
"Winchester, the central point, where all the main roads met 
of a wide range of scattered settlements, where tidings could 
soonest be collected from every quarter, and whence re-en- 
forcements and supplies could most readily be forwarded. 
It was to be a grand deposit of military stores, a residence 
for commanding officers, a place of refuge for the women 
and children in time of alarm, when the men had suddenly 
to take the field ; in a word, it was to be the citadel of the 

Besides this, he would have three or four large fortresses 
erected at convenient distances upon the frontiers, with pow- 
erful garrisons, so as to be able to throw out, in constant 
succession, strong scouting parties, to range the country. 
Fort Cumberland he condemned as being out of the prov- 
ince, and out of the track of Indian incursions; insomuch 
that it seldom received an alarm until all the mischief had 
been effected. 

His representations with respect to military laws and 
regulations were equally cogent. In the late act of the As- 
sembly for raising a regiment it was provided that, in cases 
of emergency, if recruits should not offer in sufficient num- 
ber, the militia might be drafted to supply the deficiencies, 
but only to serve until December, and not to be marched out 
of the province. In this case, said he, before they have en- 
tered upon service, or got the least smattering of duty, they 
will claim a discharge ; if they are pursuing an enemy who 
has committed the most unheard-of cruelties, he has only to 
step across the Potomac, and he is safe. Then as to the lim- 

238 U/orl^s of U/a8l?iD$ton Iruipo; 

its of service, they might just as easily have been enlisted 
for seventeen months as seven, They would then have been 
seasoned as well as disciplined; "for we find by experience," 
says he, "that our poor ragged soldiers would kill the most 
active militia in five days' marching." 

Then, as to punishments: death, it was true, had been 
decreed for mutiny and desertion; but there was no punish- 
ment for cowardice; for holding correspondence with the 
enemy; for quitting, or sleeping on one's post; all capital 
offenses according to the military codes of Europe. Neither 
were there provisions for quartering or billeting soldiers, or 
impressing wagons and other conveyances, in times of exi- 
gency. To crown all, no court-martial could sit out of Vir- 
ginia; a most embarrassing regulation, when troops were 
fifty or a hundred miles beyond the frontier. He earnestly 
suggested amendments on all these points, as well as with 
regard to the soldiers' pay, which was less than of the regu- 
lar troops, or the troops of most of the other provinces. 

All these suggestions, showing at this youthful age that 
forethought and circumspection which distinguished him 
throughout life, were repeatedly and eloquently urged upon 
Governor Dinwiddie, with very little effect. The plan of a 
frontier line of twenty- three forts was persisted in. Fort 
Cumberland was pertinaciously kept up at a great and use- 
less expense of men and money, and the militia laws re- 
mained lax and inefficient. It was decreed, however, that 
the great central fort at Winchester, recommended by Wash- 
ington, should be erected. 

In the height of the alarm a company of one hundred 
gentlemen, mounted and equipped, volunteered their services 
to repair to the frontier. They were headed by Peyton Ran- 
dolph, attorney-general, a man deservedly popular through- 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 239 

out the province. Their offer was gladly accepted. They 
were denominated the "Gentlemen Associators," and great 
expectations of course were entertained from their gal- 
lantry and devotion. They were empowered, also, to aid 
with their judgment in the selection of places for frontier 

The "Gentlemen Associators," like all gentlemen asso- 
ciators in similar emergencies, turned out with great zeal 
and spirit and immense popular effect, but wasted their fire 
in preparation and on the march. Washington, who well 
understood the value of such aid, observed dryly in a letter 
to Governor Dinwiddie, "I am heartily glad that you have 
fixed upon these gentlemen to point out the places for erect- 
ing forts, but regret to find their motions so slow." There 
is no doubt that they would have conducted themselves gal- 
lantly had they been put to the test ; but before they arrived 
near the scene of danger the alarm was over. About the 
beginning of May scouts brought in word that the tracks of 
the marauding savages tended toward Fort Duquesne, as if 
on the return. In a little while it was ascertained that they 
had recrossed the Alleghany Mountains to the Ohio in such 
numbers as to leave a beaten track, equal to that made in 
the preceding year by the army of Braddock. 

The repeated inroads of the savages called for an effect- 
ual and permanent check. The idea of being constantly 
subject to the irruptions of a deadly foe that moved with 
stealth and mystery, and was only to be traced by its rav- 
ages and counted by its footprints, discouraged all settle- 
ment of the country. The beautiful valley of the Shenan- 
doah was fast becoming a deserted and a silent place. Her 
people, for the most part, had fled to the older settle- 
ments south of the mountains, and the Blue Ridge was 

240 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irving 

likely soon to become virtually the frontier line of the 

"We have to record one signal act of retaliation on the 
perfidious tribes of the Ohio, in which a person whose name 
subsequently became dear to Americans was concerned. 
Prisoners who had escaped from the savages reported that 
Shingis, Washington's faithless ally, and another sachem, 
called Captain Jacobs, were the two heads of the hostile 
bands that had desolated the frontier. That they lived at 
Kittanning, an Indian town, about forty miles above Fort 
Duquesne; at which their warriors were fitted out for incur- 
sions, and whither they returned with their prisoners and 
plunder. Captain Jacobs was a daring fellow, and scoffed 
at palisaded forts. "He could take any fort," he said, 
"that would catch fire." 

A party of two hundred and eighty provincials, resolute 
men, undertook to surprise and destroy this savage nest. It 
was commanded by Colonel John Armstrong; and with him 
went Dr. Hugh Mercer, of subsequent renown, who had re- 
ceived a captain's commission from Pennsylvania, on the 6th 
of March, 1756. 

Armstrong led his men rapidly, but secretly, over moun- 
tain, and through forest, until, after a long and perilous 
march, they reached the Alleghany. It was a moonlight 
night when they arrived in the neighborhood of Kittanning. 
They were guided to the village by whoops and yells, and 
the sound of the Indian drum. The warriors were celebrat- 
ing their exploits by the triumphant scalp-dance. After a 
while the revel ceased, and a number of fires appeared here 
and there in a corn-field. They were made by such of the 
Indians as slept in the open air, and were intended to drive 
%ff the gnats. Armstrong and his men lay down "quiet and 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)qtoi> 241 

hush," observing everything narrowly, and waiting until 
the moon should set and the warriors be asleep. At length 
the moon went down, the fires burned low; all was quiet. 
Armstrong now roused his men, some of whom, wearied by 
their long march, had fallen asleep. He divided his forces; 
part were to attack the warriors in the corn-field, part were 
dispatched to the houses, which were dimly seen by the first 
streak of day. There was sharp firing in both quarters, for 
the Indians, though taken by surprise, fought bravely, in- 
spired by the war-whoop of their chief, Captain Jacobs. 
The women and children fled to the woods. Several of 
the provincials were killed and wounded. Captain Hugh 
Mercer received a wound in the arm, and was taken to the 
top of a hill. The fierce chieftain, Captain Jacobs, was be- 
sieged in his house, which had port-holes; whence he and 
his warriors made havoc among the assailants. The adjoin- 
ing houses were set on fire. The chief was summoned to 
surrender himself. He replied he was a man, and would 
not be a prisoner. He was told he would be burned. His 
reply was, "he would kill four or five before he died." The 
flames and smoke approached. "One of the besieged war- 
riors, to show his manhood, began to sing. A squaw at the 
same time was heard to cry. but was severely rebuked by 
the men." * 

In the end, the warriors were driven out by the flames; 
some escaped, and some were shot. Among the latter was 
Captain Jacobs, and his gigantic son, said to be seven feet 
high. Fire was now set to all the houses, thirty in number. 
"During the burning of the houses," says Colonel Arm- 
strong, "we were agreeably entertained with a quick suo- 

* Letter from Col. Armstrong. 

* * * K— Vol. XII. 

242 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii}$t09 Iruip$ 

cession of charged guns, gradually firing off as reached by 
the fire, but much more so with the vast explosion of sundry 
bags, and large kegs of powder, wherewith almost every 
house abounded.' ' The colonel was in a strange condition 
to enjoy such an entertainment, having received a wound 
from a large musket-ball in the shoulder. 

The object of the expedition was accomplished. Thirty 
or forty of the warriors were slain : their stronghold was a 
smoking ruin. There was danger of the victors being cut 
off by a detachment from Fort Duquesne. They made the 
best of their way, therefore, to their horses, which had been 
left at a distance, and set off rapidly on their march to 
Fort Lyttleton, about sixty miles north of Fort Cumber- 

Colonel Armstrong had not reached Fort Lyttleton on the 
14th of September, six days after the battle, and fears were 
entertained that he had been intercepted by the Indians and 
was lost. He, with his ensign and eleven men, had sepa- 
rated from the main body when they began their march, 
and had taken another and what was supposed a safer road. 
lie had with him a woman, a boy, and two little girls, re- 
captured from the Indians. The whole party ultimately 
arrived safe at Fort Lyttleton; but it would seem that 
Mercer, weak and faint from his fractured arm, must have 
fallen behind, or in some way become separated from them, 
and had a long, solitary, and painful struggle through the 
wilderness, reaching the fort sick, weary and half famished.* 

* "We hear that Captain Mercer was fourteen days in 
getting to Fort Lyttleton. He had a miraculous escape, liv- 
ing ten days on two dried clams and a rattlesnake, with the 
assistance of a few berries.' ' — New York Mercury for Oc- 
tober 4, 1756. 

Cife of U/a8l?fi)$too 243 

We shall have to speak hereafter of his services when under 
the standard of Washington, whose friend and neighbor he 
subsequently became.* 


Founding of Fort Loudoun— Washington's Tour of Inspection- 
Inefficiency of the Militia System— Gentlemen Soldiers— Cross- 
purposes with Dinwiddie— Military Affairs in the North— De- 
lays of Lord Loudoun— Activity of Montcalm — Loudoun in 
Winter Quarters 

Throughout the summer of 1756 Washington exerted 
himself diligently in carrying out measures determined upon 
for frontier security. The great fortress at Winchester was 
commenced, and the work urged forward as expeditiously as 
the delays and perplexities incident to a badly organized ser- 
vice would permit. It received the name of Fort Loudoun, 
in honor of the commander-in-chief, whose arrival in Vir- 
ginia was hopefully anticipated. 

As to the sites of the frontier posts, they were decided 
upon by Washington and his officers, after frequent and 
long consultations; parties were sent out to work on them, 
and men recruited, and militia drafted to garrison them. 
Washington visited occasionally such as were in progress, 

* Mercer was a Scotchman, about thirty-four years of 
age. About ten years previously he had served as assistant 
surgeon in the forces of Charles Edward, and followed his 
standard to the disastrous field of Culloden. After the de- 
feat of the "Chevalier," he had escaped by the way of In- 
verness to America, and taken up his residence on the frontier 
of Pennsylvania. 

244 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii)$tor) Iruin$ 

and near at hand. It was a service of some peril, for the 
mountains and forests were still infested by prowling sav- 
ages, especially in the neighborhood of these new forts. At 
one time when he was reconnoitering a wild part of the coun- 
try, attended merely by a servant and a guide, two men 
were murdered by the Indians in a solitary defile shortly 
after he had passed through it. 

In the autumn he made a tour of inspection along the 
whole line, accompanied by his friend, Captain Hugh Mer- 
cer, who had recovered from his recent wounds. This tour 
furnished repeated proofs of the inefficiency of the militia 
system. In one place he attempted to raise a force with 
which to scour a region infested by roving bands of savages. 
After waiting several days, but five men answered to his 
summons. In another place, where three companies had 
been ordered to the relief of a fort attacked by the Indians, 
all that could be mustered were a captain, a lieutenant and 
seven or eight men. 

When the militia were drafted and appeared under arms, 
the case was not much better. It was now late in the au- 
tumn ; their term of service, by the act of the Legislature, 
expired in December — half of the time, therefore, was lost in 
marching out and home. Their waste of provisions was 
enormous. To be put on allowance, like other soldiers, they 
considered an indignity. They would sooner starve than 
carry a few days' provisions on their backs. On the march, 
when breakfast was wanted, they would knock down the 
first beeves they met with, and, after regaling themselves, 
march on till dinner, when they would take the same method ; 
and so for supper, to the great oppression of the people. For 
the want of proper military laws, they were obstinate, self- 
willed and perverse. Every individual had his own crude 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$eoi> 245 

notion of things, and would undertake to direct. If his ad« 
vice were neglected, he would think himself slighted, abused 
and injured, and, to redress himself, would depart for his 

The garrisons were weak for want of men, but more so 
from indolence and irregularity. Not one was in a posture 
of defense ; few but might be surprised with the greatest 
ease. At one fort the Indians rushed from their lurking- 
place, pounced upon several children playing under the 
walls, and bore them off before they were discovered. An- 
other fort was surprised, and many of the people massacred 
in the same manner. In the course of his tour, as he and 
his party approached the fort, he heard a quick firing for 
several minutes ; concluding that it was attacked, they hast- 
ened to its relief, but found the garrison were merely amus- 
ing themselves firing at a mark, or for wagers. In this way 
they would waste their ammunition as freely as they did 
their provisions. In the meantime, the inhabitants of the 
country were in a wretched situation, feeling the little de- 
pendence to be put on militia who were slow in coming to 
their assistance, indifferent about their preservation, unwill- 
ing to continue, and regardless of everything but their own 
ease. In short, they were so apprehensive of approaching 
ruin that the whole back country was in a general motion 
toward the southern colonies. 

From the Catawba he was escorted along a range of forts 
by a colonel and about thirty men, chiefly officers. "With 
this small company of irregulars," says he, "with whom or- 
der, regularity, circumspection and vigilance were matters 
of derision and contempt, we set out, and by the protection 
of Providence reached Augusta court-house in seven days, 
without meeting the enemy ; otherwise we must have fallen 

246 U/orl^s of U/asl^ip^top Iri/ii}©; 

a sacrifice, through the indiscretion of these whooping, hallo- 
ing, gentlemen soldiers !" 

How lively a picture does this give of the militia system 
at all times, when not subjected to strict military law. 

"What rendered this year's service peculiarly irksome and 
embarrassing to Washington was the nature of his corre- 
spondence with Governor Dinwiddie. That gentleman, 
either from the natural hurry and confusion of his mind, or 
from a real disposition to perplex, was extremely ambiguous 
and unsatisfactory in most of his orders and replies. "So 
much am I kept in the dark," says Washington, in one of 
his letters, "that I do not know whether to prepare for the 
offensive or defensive. "What would be absolutely necessary 
for the one, would be quite useless for the other." And 
again: "The orders I receive are full of ambiguity. I am 
left like a wanderer in the wilderness, to proceed at hazard. 
I am answerable for consequences, and blamed, without the 
privilege of defense." 

In nothing was this disposition to perplex more apparent 
than in the governor's replies respecting Fort Cumberland. 
"Washington had repeatedly urged the abandonment of this 
fort as a place of frontier deposit, being within the bounds 
of another province, and out of the track of Indian incur- 
sion; so that often the alarm would not reach there until 
after the mischief had been effected. He applied, at length, 
for particular and positive directions from the governor on 
this head. "The following," says he, "is an exact copy of 
his answer: 'Fort Cumberland is a king's fort, and built 
chiefly at the charge of the colony, therefore properly under 
our direction until a new governor is appointed.' Now, 
whether I am to understand this aye or no to the plain 
simple question asked, Is the fort to be continued or re- 

Cife of U/a8f?ip<$tor) 247 

moved? I know not. But in all important matters I am 
directed in this ambiguous and uncertain way." 

Governor Dinwiddie subsequently made himself explicit 
on this point. Taking offense at some of Washington's com- 
ments on the military affairs of the frontier, he made the 
stand of a self-willed and obstinate man, in the case of Fort 
Cumberland ; and represented it in such light to Lord Lou- 
doun, as to draw from his lordship an order that it should be 
kept up ; and an implied censure of the conduct of Washing- 
ton in slighting a post of such paramount importance. "I 
cannot agree with Colonel Washington,' ' writes his lordship, 
"in not drawing in the posts from the stockade forts, in or- 
der to defend that advanced one; and I should imagine 
much more of the frontier will be exposed by retiring your 
advanced posts near Winchester, where I understand he is 
retired ; for, from your letter, I take it for granted he has 
before this executed his plan, without waiting for any ad- 
vice. If he leaves any of the great quantity of stores be- 
hind, it will be very unfortunate, and he ought to consider 
that it must lie at his own door." 

Thus powerfully supported, Dinwiddie went so far as to 
order that the garrisons should be withdrawn from the stock- 
ades and small frontier forts, and most of the troops from 
Winchester, to strengthen Fort Cumberland, which was now 
to become headquarters ; thus weakening the most important 
points and places, to concentrate a force where it was not 
wanted, and would be out of the way in most cases of alarm. 
By these meddlesome moves, made by Governor Dinwiddie 
from a distance, without knowing anything of the game, all 
previous arrangements were reversed, everything was thrown 
into confusion, and enormous losses and expenses were in* 

248 U/orks of U/asl?ii)$toi) Iru!r;$ 

" "Whence it arises, or why, I am truly ignorant," writes 
Washington to Mr. Speaker Robinson, "but my strongest 
representations of matters relative to the frontiers are disre- 
garded as idle and frivolous ; my propositions and measures 
as partial and selfish ; and all my sincerest endeavors for the 
service of my country are perverted to the worst purposes. 
My orders are dark and uncertain : to-day approved, to-mor- 
row disapproved." 

"Whence all this contradiction and embarrassment arose 
has since been explained, and with apparent reason. Gov- 
ernor Dinwiddie had never recovered from the pique caused 
by the popular elevation of "Washington to the command in 
preference to his favorite, Colonel Innes. His irritation was 
kept alive by a little Scottish faction, who were desirous of 
disgusting "Washington with the service, so as to induce him 
to resign, and make way for his rival. They might have 
carried their point during the panic at Winchester, had not 
his patriotism and his sympathy with the public distress been 
more powerful than his self-love. He determined, he said, 
to bear up under these embarrassments in the hope of better 
regulations when Lord Loudoun should arrive ; to whom he 
looked for the future fate of Virginia. 

While these events were occurring on the Virginia fron- 
tier, military affairs went on tardily and heavily at the north. 
The campaign against Canada, which was to have opened 
early in the year, hung fire. The armament coming out for 
the purpose under Lord Loudoun was dela3 T ed through the 
want of energy and union in the British cabinet. General 
Abercrombie, who was to be next in command to his lord- 
ship, and to succeed to General Shirley, set sail in advance 
for New York with two regiments, but did not reach Al- 
bany, the headquarters of military operation, until the 25th 

Cife of U/aslpir/^ton 249 

of June. He billeted his soldiers upon the town, much to 
the disgust of the inhabitants, and talked of ditching and 
stockading it, but postponed all exterior enterprises until the 
arrival of Lord Loudoun ; then the campaign was to open in 

On the 12th of July came word that the forts Ontario 
and Oswego, on each side of the mouth of the Oswego River, 
were menaced by the French. They had been imperfectly 
constructed by Shirley, and were insufficiently garrisoned, 
yet contained a great amount of military and naval stores, 
and protected the vessels which cruised on Lake Ontario. 

Major-general Webb was ordered by Abercrombie to hold 
himself in readiness to march with one regiment to the relief 
of these forts, but received no further orders. Everything 
awaited the arrival at Albany of Lord Loudoun, which at 
length took place on the 29th of July. There were now at 
least ten thousand troops, regulars and provincials, loitering 
in an idle camp at Albany, yet relief to Oswego was still de- 
layed. Lord Loudoun was in favor of it, but the govern- 
ments of New York and New England urged the immediate 
reduction of Crown Point as necessary for the security of 
their frontier. After much debate it was agreed that Gen- 
eral Webb should march to the relief of Oswego. He left 
Albany on the 12th of August, but had scarce reached the 
carrying-place, between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek, 
when he received news that Oswego was reduced and its 
garrison captured. While the British commanders had de- 
bated, Field-marshal the Marquis de Montcalm, newly ar- 
rived from France, had acted. He was a different kind of 
soldier from Abercrombie or Loudoun. A capacious mind 
and an enterprising spirit animated a small but active and 
untiring frame. Quick in thought, quick in speech, quicker 

250 U/or^g of U/asl?iD$tOD Irvioo; 

still in action, he comprehended everything at a glance, and 
moved from point to point of the province with a celerity 
and secrecy that completely baffled his slow and pondering 
antagonists. Crown Point and Ticonderoga were visited, 
and steps taken to strengthen their works and provide for 
their security; then hastening to Montreal, he put himself 
at the head of a force of regulars, Canadians and Indians; 
ascended the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario ; blocked up the 
mouth of the Oswego by his vessels, landed his guns, and 
besieged the two forts; drove the garrison out of one into 
the other; killed the commander, Colonel Mercer, and com- 
pelled the garrisons to surrender, prisoners of war. With 
the forts was taken an immense amount of military stores, 
ammunition and provisions; one hundred and twenty -one 
cannon, fourteen mortars, six vessels of war, a vast number 
of bateaux, and three chests of money. His blow achieved, 
Montcalm returned in triumph to Montreal, and sent the 
colors of the captured forts to be hung up as trophies in 
the Canadian churches. 

The season was now too far advanced for Lord Loudoun 
to enter upon any great military enterprise ; he postponed, 
therefore, the great northern campaign, so much talked of 
and debated, until the following year; and having taken 
measures for the protection of his frontiers, and for more 
active operations in the spring, returned to New York, hung 
up his sword, and went into comfortable winter quarters. 

Cife of U/asl^ip^top . 251 


Washington vindicates his Conduct to Lord Loudoun — His recep- 
tion by his Lordship — Military Plans — Lord Loudoun at Hali- 
fax — Montcalm on Lake George — His Triumphs — Lord Lou- 
doun's Failures — Washington at Winchester — Continued Mis- 
understandings with Dinwiddie — Return to Mount Vernon 

Circumstances had led Washington to think that Lord 
Loudoun "had received impressions to his prejudice by false 
representations of facts," and that a wrong idea prevailed at 
headquarters respecting the state of military affairs in Vir- 
ginia. He was anxious, therefore, for an opportunity of 
placing all these matters in a proper light; and understand- 
ing that there was to be a meeting in Philadelphia in the 
month of March, between Lord Loudoun and the Southern 
governors, to consult about measures of defense for their 
respective provinces, he wrote to Governor Dinwiddie for 
permission to attend it. 

"I cannot conceive,' ' writes Dinwiddie in reply, "what 
service you can be of in going there, as the plan concerted 
will, in course, be communicated to you and the other officers. 
However, as you seem so earnest to go, I now give you 

This ungracious reply seemed to warrant the suspicions 
entertained by some of Washington's friends that it was the 
busy pen of Governor Dinwiddie which had given the "false 
representation of facts" to Lord Loudoun. About a month 
therefore, before the time of meeting, Washington addressed 

252 U/orK« of U/a8l?ii?$tor> Irvii)$ 

a long letter to his lordship, explanatory of military affairs 
in the quarter where he had commanded. In this he set 
forth the various defects in the militia laws of Virginia; the 
errors in its system of defense, and the inevitable confusion 
which had thence resulted. 

Adverting to his own conduct: "The orders I receive," 
said he, "are full of ambiguity. I am left like a wanderer 
in the wilderness, to proceed at hazard. I am answerable 
for consequences, and blamed, without the privilege of de- 
fense It is not to be wondered at, if, under such 

peculiar circumstances, I should be sick of a service which 
promises so little of a soldier's reward. 

"I have long been satisfied of the impossibility of con- 
tinuing in this service without loss of honor. Indeed, I was 
fully convinced of it before I accepted the command the sec- 
ond time, seeing the cloudy prospect before me; and I did, 
for this reason, reject the offer, until I was ashamed any 
longer to refuse, not caring to expose my character to public 
censure. The solicitations of the country overcame my ob- 
jections, and induced me to accept it. Another reason has 
of late operated to continue me in the service until now, and 
that is the dawn of hope that arose when I heard your lord- 
ship was destined by his majesty for the important command 
of his armies in America, and appointed to the government 
of his dominion of Virginia. Hence it was that I drew my 
hopes, and fondly pronounced your lordship our patron. Al- 
though I have not the honor to be known to your lordship, 
yet your name was familiar to my ear on account of the im- 
portant services rendered to his majesty in other parts of the 

The manner in which Washington was received by Lord 
Loudoun, on arriving at Philadelphia, showed him at once 

Cife of U/a8l?Ii)$toi) 253 

that his long explanatory letter had produoed the desired 
effect, and that his character and conduct were justly appre- 
ciated. During his sojourn in Philadelphia he was frequently 
consulted on points of frontier service, and his advice was 
generally adopted. On one point it failed. He advised that 
an attack should be made on Fort Duquesne, simultaneous 
with the attempts on Canada. At such time a great part of 
the garrison would be drawn away to aid in the defense of 
that province, and a blow might be struck more likely to in- 
sure the peace and safety of the southern frontier than all its 
forts and defenses. 

Lord Loudoun, however, was not to be convinced, or at 
least persuaded. According to his plan, the middle and 
southern provinces were to maintain a merely defensive 
warfare : and as Virginia would be required to send four 
hundred of her troops to the aid of South Carolina, she 
would, in fact, be left weaker than before. 

Washington was also disappointed a second time, in the 
hope of having his regiment placed on the same footing as 
the regular army, and of obtaining a king's commission ; the 
latter he was destined never to hold. 

His representations with respect to Fort Cumberland had 
the desired effect in counteracting the mischievous intermed- 
dling of Dinwiddie. The Virginia troops and stores were 
ordered to be again removed to Fort Loudoun, at Win- 
chester, which once more became headquarters, while Fort 
Cumberland was left to be occupied by a Maryland garrison. 
Washington was instructed, likewise, to correspond and co- 
operate, in military affairs, with Colonel Stanwix, who was 
stationed on the Pennsylvania frontier, with five hundred 
men from the Royal American regiment, and to whom he 
would be, in some measure, subordinate. This proved a 

854 U/orl^s of U/a8f?io$too Irvip$ 

correspondence of friendship as well as duty ; Colonel Stan- 
wix being a gentleman of high moral worth, as well as great 
ability in military affairs. 

The great plan of operations at the north was again 
doomed to failure. The reduction of Crown Point on Lake 
Champlain, which had long been meditated, was laid aside, 
and the capture of Louisburg substituted, as an acquisition 
of far greater importance. This was a place of great conse- 
quence, situated on the isle of Cape Breton, and strongly 
fortified. It commanded the fisheries of Newfoundland, 
overawed New England, and was a main bulwark to Acadia. 

In the course of July, Lord Loudoun set sail for Halifax 
with all the troops he could collect, amounting to about six 
thousand men, to join with Admiral Holbourne, who had 
just arrived at that port with eleven ships of the line, a fire- 
ship, bomb-ketch, and fleet of transports, having on board 
six thousand men. With this united force Lord Loudoun 
anticipated the certain capture of Louisburg. 

Scarce had the tidings of his lordship's departure reached 
Canada, when the active Montcalm again took the field, to 
follow up the successes of the preceding year. Fort William 
Henry, which Sir Wm. Johnson had erected on the southern 
shore of Lake George, was now his object ; it commanded the 
lake, and was an important protection to the British frontier. 
A brave old officer, Colonel Monro, with about five hundred 
men, formed the garrison ; more than three times that num- 
ber of militia were intrenched near by. Montcalm had, 
early in the season, made three ineffectual attempts upon 
the fort; he now trusted to be more successful. Collecting 
his forces from Crown Point, Ticonderoga, and the adjacent 
posts, with a considerable number of Canadians and Indians, 
altogether nearly eight thousand men, he advanced up the 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 255 

lake, on the 1st of August, in a fleet of boats, with swarms 
of Indian canoes in the advance. The fort came near being 
surprised; but the troops encamped without it abandoned 
their tents and hurried within the works. A summons to 
surrender was answered by a brave defiance. Montcalm in- 
vested the fort, made his approaches, and battered it with 
his artillery. For five days its veteran commander kept up 
a vigorous defense, trusting to receive assistance from Gen- 
eral Webb, who had failed to relieve Fort Oswego in the 
preceding year, and who was now at Fort Edward, about 
fifteen miles distant, with upward of five thousand men. 
Instead of this, Webb, who overrated the French forces, 
sent him a letter, advising him to capitulate. The letter 
was intercepted by Montcalm, but still forwarded to Monro. 
The obstinate old soldier, however, persisted in his defense, 
until most his cannon were burst and his ammunition ex- 
pended. At length, in the month of August, he hung out 
a flag of truce, and obtained honorable terms from an enemy 
who knew how to appreciate his valor. Montcalm demol- 
ished the fort, carried off all the artillery and munitions of 
war, with vessels employed in the navigation of the lake; 
and having thus completed his destruction of the British 
defenses on this frontier, returned once more in triumph 
with the spoils of victory, to hang up fresh trophies in the 
churches of Canada. 

Lord Loudoun, in the meantime, formed his junction 
with Admiral Holbourne at Halifax, and the troops were 
embarked with all diligence on board of the transports. Un- 
fortunately, the French were again too quick for them. Ad- 
miral de Bois de la Mothe had arrived at Louisburg, with a 
large naval and land force ; it was ascertained that he had 
seventeen ships of the line, and three frigates, quietly moored 

£56 U/orl^s of U/asl?ip<$toi) Irvirjo; 

in the harbor; that the place was well fortified and supplied 
with provisions and ammunition, and garrisoned with six 
thousand regular troops, three thousand natives, and thir- 
teen hundred In "is. 

Some hot heads would have urged an attempt against all 
such array of force, but Lord Loudoun was aware of the 
probability of defeat, and the disgrace and ruin it would 
bring upon British arms in America. His wisely, though 
ingloriously, returned to New York. Admiral Holbourne 
made a silly demonstration of his fleet off the harbor of 
Louisburg, approaching within two miles of the batteries, 
but retired on seeing the French admiral preparing to un- 
moor. He afterward returned with a re-enforcement of 
four ships of the line; cruised before Louisburg, endeav- 
oring to draw the enemy to an engagement, which De 
la Mothe had the wisdom to decline ; was overtaken by a 
hurricane, in which one of his ships was lost, eleven were 
dismasted, others had to throw their guns overboard, and all 
returned in a shattered condition to England. Thus ended 
the northern campaign by land and sea, a subject of great 
mortification to the nation and ridicule and triumph to the 

During these unfortunate operations to the north, Wash- 
ington was stationed at Winchester, shorn of part of his force 
by the detachment to South Carolina, and left with seven 
hundred men to defend a frontier of more than three hun- 
dred and fifty miles in extent. The capture and demolition 
of Oswego by Montcalm had produced a disastrous effect. 
The whole country of the five nations was abandoned to the 
French. The frontiers of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Vir- 
ginia were harassed by repeated inroads of French and In- 
dians, and Washington had the mortification to see the noble 

Cife of \I/a8l?ii)<$toi) 257 

valley of the Shenandoah almost deserted by its inhabitants, 
and fast relapsing into a wilderness. 

The year wore away on his part in the harassing service 
of defending a wide frontier with an insufficient and badly 
organized force, and the vexations he experienced were 
heightened by continual misunderstandings with Governor 
Dinwiddie. From the ungracious tenor of several of that 
gentleman's letters, and from private information, he was 
led to believe that some secret enemy had been making false 
representations of his motives and conduct, and prejudicing 
the governor against him. He vindicated himself warmly 
from the alleged aspersions, proudly appealing to the whole 
course of his public career in proof of their falsity. "It is 
uncertain," said he, "in what light my services may have 
appeared to your honor ; but this I know, and it is the high- 
est consolation I am capable of feeling, that no man that 
ever was employed in a public capacity has endeavored to 
discharge the trust reposed in him with greater honesty and 
more zeal for the country's interest than I have done; and if 
there is any person living who can say, with justice, that I 
have offered any intentional wrong to the public, I will 
cheerfully submit to the most ignominious punishment that 
an injured people ought to inflict. On the other hand, it is 
hard to have my character arraigned and my actions con- 
demned without a hearing." 

His magnanimous appeal had but little effect. Dinwid- 
die was evidently actuated by the petty pique of a narrow 
and illiberal mind, impatient of contradiction, even when in 
error. He took advantage of his official station to vent his 
spleen and gratify his petulance in a variety of ways incom- 
patible with the courtesy of a gentleman. It may excite a 
grave smile at the present day to find Washington charged 

858 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toz) Irvir>$ 

by this very small-minded man with looseness in his way of 
writing to him; with remissness in his duty toward him; 
and even with impertinence in the able and eloquent repre- 
sentations which he felt compelled to make of disastrous mis- 
management in military affairs; and still more, to find his 
reasonable request, after a long course of severe duty, for a 
temporary leave of absence to attend to his private concerns, 
peremptorily refused, and that with as little courtesy as 
though he were a mere subaltern seeking to absent himself 
on a party of pleasure. 

The multiplied vexations which Washington had latterly 
experienced from this man had preyed upon his spirits, and 
contributed, with his incessant toils and anxieties, to under- 
mine his health. For some time he struggled with repeated 
attacks of dysentery and fever, and continued in the exer- 
cise of his duties; but the increased violence of his malady, 
and the urgent advice of his friend, Dr. Craik, the army sur- 
geon, induced him to relinquish his post toward the end of 
the year and retire to Mount Vernon. 

The administration of Dinwiddie, however, was now at 
an end. He set sail for England in January, 1758, very lit- 
tle regretted, excepting by his immediate hangers-on, and 
leaving a character overshadowed by the imputation of ava- 
rice and extortion in the exaction of illegal fees, and of 
downright delinquency in regard to large sums transmitted 
to him by government to be paid over to the province in 
indemnification of its extra expenses; for the disposition of 
which sums he failed to render an account. 

He was evidently a sordid, narrow-minded and some- 
what arrogant man ; bustling rather than active ; prone to 
meddle with matters of which he was profoundly ignorant, 
and absurdly unwilling to have his ignorance enlightened. 

Cife of U/asl?ir><$tOQ 259 


Washington recovers his Health — Again in Command at Fort Lou- 
doun — Administration of Pitt — Loudoun succeeded by General 
Abercrombie — Military Arrangements — Washington Command- 
er-in-chief of the Virginia Forces — Amherst against Louisburg 
— General Wolfe — Montgomery — Capture of Louisburg — Aber- 
crombie on Lake George — Death of Lord Howe — Repulse of 
Abercrombie — Success of Bradstreet at Oswego 

For several months Washington was afflicted by returns 
of his malady, accompanied by symptoms indicative, as he 
thought, of a decline. "My constitution," writes he to his 
friend, Colonel Stanwix, "is much impaired, and nothing 
can retrieve it but the greatest care and the most circumspect 
course of life. This being the case, as I have now no pros- 
pect left of preferment in the military way, and despair of 
rendering that immediate service which my country may 
require from the person commanding its troops, I have 
thoughts of quitting my command and retiring from all 
public business, leaving my post to be filled by some other 
person more capable of the task, and who may, perhaps, 
have his endeavors crowned with better success than mine 
have been. ' ' 

A gradual improvement in his health and a change in 
his prospects, encouraged him to continue in what really 
was his favorite career, and at the beginning of April he was 
again in command at Fort Loudoun. Mr. Francis Fauquier 
had been appointed successor to Dinwiddie. and until he 

260 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi} In/ip$ 

should arrive Mr. John Blair, president of the council, had 5 
from his office, charge of the government. In the latter 
Washington had a friend who appreciated his character and 
services, and was disposed to carry out his plans. 

The general aspect of affairs, also, was more animating. 
Under the able and intrepid administration of William Pitt, 
who had control of the British cabinet, an effort was made 
to retrieve the disgraces of the late American campaign, 
and to carry on the war with greater vigor. The instruc- 
tions for a common fund were discontinued; there was no 
more talk of taxation by Parliament. Lord Loudoun, from 
whom so much had been anticipated, had disappointed by 
his inactivity, and been relieved from a command in which 
he had attempted much and done so little. His friends 
alleged that his inactivity was owing to a want of una- 
nimity and co-operation in the colonial governments, which 
paralyzed all his well-meant efforts. Franklin, it is prob- 
able, probed the matter with his usual sagacity when he 
characterized him as a man " entirely made up of indecision." 
— "Like St. George on the signs, he was always on horse- 
back, but never rode on." 

On the return of his lordship to England, the general 
command in America devolved on Major-general Aber- 
crombie, and the forces were divided into three detached 
bodies; one, under Major-general Amherst, was to operate 
in the north with the fleet under Boscawen, for the reduction 
of Louisburg and the island of Cape Breton ; another, under 
Abercrombie himself, was to proceed against Ticonderoga 
and Crown Point on Lake Champlain ; and the third, under 
Brigadier-general Forbes, who had the charge of the middle 
and southern colonies, was to undertake the reduction of 
Fort Duquesne. The colonial troops were to be supplied, 

Cife of U/a8f?iQ<$tor> 261 

like the regulars, with arms, ammunition, tents, and pro- 
visions, at the expense of government, but clothed and paid 
by the colonies; for which the king would recommend to 
Parliament a proper compensation. The provincial officers 
appointed by the governors, and of no higher rank than 
colonel, were to be equal in command, when united in ser- 
vice with those who held direct from the king, according 
to the date of their commissions. By these wise provisions 
of Mr. Pitt a fertile cause of heart-burnings and dissensions 
was removed. 

It was with the greatest satisfaction "Washington saw his 
favorite measure at last adopted, the reduction of Fort Du- 
quesne; and he resolved to continue in the service until that 
object was accomplished. In a letter to Stanwix, who was 
now a brigadier-general, he modestly requested to be men- 
tioned in favorable terms to General Forbes, "not," he said, 
(< asa person who would depend upon him for further recom- 
mendation to military preferment (for I have long conquered 
all such inclinations, and shall serve this campaign merely 
for the purpose of affording my best endeavors to bring 
matters to a conclusion), but as a person who would gladly 
be distinguished in some measure from the common run 
of provincial officers, as I understand there will be a motley 
herd of us." He had the satisfaction subsequently of enjoy- 
ing the fullest confidence of General Forbes, who knew too 
well the sound judgment and practical ability evinced by 
him in the unfortunate campaign of Braddock not to be de- 
sirous of availing himself of his counsels. 

Washington still was commander-in-chief of the Virginia 
troops, now augmented, by an act of the Assembly, to two 
regiments of one thousand men each; one led by himself, 
the other by Colonel Byrd; the whole destined to make 

262 U/orl^s of U/a8t?ir>$too Irvii?$ 

a part of the army of General Forbes in the expedition 
against Fort Duquesne. 

Of the animation which he felt at the prospect of serving 
in this long-desired campaign, and revisiting with an effective 
force the scene of past disasters, we have proof in a short 
letter, written during the excitement of the moment, to 
Major Francis Halket, his former companion in arms. 

"My dear Halket — Are we to have you once more 
among us? And shall we revisit together a hapless spot, that 
proved so fatal to many of our former brave companions? 
Yes ; and I rejoice at it, hoping it will now be in our power to 
testify a just abhorrence of the cruel butcheries exercised on 
our friends in the unfortunate day of General Braddock's de- 
feat; and, moreover, to show our enemies that we can prac- 
tice all that lenity of which they only boast, without afford- 
ing any adequate proof." 

Before we proceed to narrate the expedition against Fort 
Duquesne, however, we will briefly notice the conduct of 
the two other expeditions, which formed important parts in 
the plan of military operations for the year. And first, of 
that against Louisburg and the island of Cape Breton. 

Major-general Amherst, who conducted this expedition, 
embarked with between ten and twelve thousand men, in 
the fleet of Admiral Boscawen, and set sail about the end 
of May, from Halifax, in Nova Scotia. Along with him 
went Brigadier-general James Wolfe, an officer young in 
years, but a veteran in military experience, and destined to 
gain an almost romantic celebrity. He may almost be said 
to have been born in the camp, for he was the son of Major- 
general Wolfe, a veteran officer of merit, and when a lad 

Cife of U/a8t?ip$toi} 263 

had witnessed the battles of Dettingen and Fontenoy. While 
a mere youth he had distinguished himself at the battle of 
Laffeldt, in the Netherlands; and now, after having been 
eighteen years in the service, he was but thirty-one years 
of age. In America, however, he was to win his lasting 

On the 2d of June, the fleet arrived at the Bay of 
Gabarus, about seven miles to the west of Louisburg. The 
latter place was garrisoned by two thousand five hundred 
regulars, and three hundred militia, and subsequently re- 
enforced by upward of four hundred Canadians and Indians. 
In the harbor were six ships of the line and five frigates, 
three of which were sunk across the mouth. For several 
days the troops were prevented from landing by boisterous 
weather and a heavy surf. The French improved that time 
to strengthen a chain of forts along the shore, deepening 
trenches, and constructing batteries. 

On the 8th of J une, preparations for landing were made 
before daybreak. The troops were embarked in boats in 
three divisions, under Brigadiers Wolfe, Whetmore, and 
Laurens. The landing was to be attempted west of the 
harbor, at a place feebly secured. Several frigates and 
Bloops previously scoured the beach with their shot, after 
which Wolfe pulled for shore with his division ; the other 
two divisions distracting the attention of the enemy, by 
making a show of landing in other parts. The surf still 
ran high, the enemy opened a fire of cannon and musketry 
from their batteries, many boats were upset, many men slain, 
but Wolfe pushed forward, sprang into the water when the 
boats grounded, dashed through the surf with his men, 
stormed the enemy's breastworks and batteries, and drove 
them from the shore. Among the subalterns who stood by 

264 Worlds of UYasbti)$toi) Iruii)$ 

Wolfe on this occasion was an Irish youth, twenty-one years 
of age, named Richard Montgomery, whom, for his gallantry, 
Wolfe promoted to a lieutenancy, and who was destined, in 
after years, to gain an imperishable renown. The other 
divisions effected a landing after a severe conflict; artillery 
and stores were brought on shore, and Louisburg was for- 
mally invested. 

The weather continued boisterous; the heavy cannon, 
and the various munitions necessary for a siege, were landed 
with difficulty. Amherst, moreover, was a cautious man, 
and made his approaches slowly, securing his camp by 
redoubts and epaulements. The Chevalier Drucour, who 
commanded at Louisburg, called in his outposts, and pre- 
pared for a desperate defense ; keeping up a heavy fire from 
his batteries, and from the ships in the harbor. 

Wolfe, with a strong detachment, surprised at night, and 
took possession of Lighthouse Point, on the northeast side 
of the entrance to the harbor. Here he drew up batteries 
in addition to those already there, from which he was enabled 
greatly to annoy both town and shipping, as well as to aid 
Amherst in his slow, but regular and sure approaches. 

On the 21st of July, the three largest of the enemy's ships 
were set on fire by a bombshell. On the night of the 25th 
two other of the ships were boarded, sword in hand, from 
boats of the squadron ; one being aground, was burned, the 
other was towed out of the harbor in triumph. The brave 
Drucour kept up the defense until all the ships were either 
taken or destroyed; forty out of fifty-two pieces of cannon 
dismounted , and his works mere heaps of ruins. When 
driven to capitulate, he refused the terms proposed, as being 
too severe, and, when threatened with a general assault, by 
sea and land, determined to abide it, rather than submit to 

Cife of U/asl?fn$tor/ 265 

what he considered a humiliation. The prayers and petitions 
of the inhabitants, however, overcame his obstinacy. The 
place was surrendered, and he and his garrison became pris- 
oners of war. Captain Amherst, brother to the general, car- 
ried home the news to England, with eleven pair of colors, 
taken at Louisburg. There were rejoicings throughout the 
kingdom. The colors were borne in triumph through the 
streets of London, with a parade of horse and foot, kettle- 
drums and trumpets, and the thunder of artillery, and were 
put up as trophies in St. Paul's Cathedral. 

Boscawen, who was a member of Parliament, received 
a unanimous vote of praise from the House of Commons, 
and the youthful Wolfe, who returned shortly after the 
victory to England, was hailed as the hero of the enterprise. 

We have disposed of one of the three great expeditions 
contemplated in the plan of the year's campaign. The 
second was that against the French forts on Lakes George 
and Champlain. At the beginning of July, Abercrombie 
was encamped on the borders of Lake George, with between 
six and seven thousand regulars, and upward of nine thou- 
sand provincials, from New England, New York, and New 
Jersey. Major Israel Putnam, of Connecticut, who had 
served on this lake, under Sir William Johnson, in the cam- 
paign in which Dieskau was defeated and slain, had been de- 
tached with a scouting party to reconnoiter the neighborhood. 
After his return and report, Abercrombie prepared to pro- 
ceed against Ticonderoga, situated on a tongue of land in 
Lake Champlain, at the mouth of the strait communicating 
with Lake George. 

On the 5th of July, the forces were embarked in one 
hundred and twenty-five whale-boats, and nine hundred 
bateaux, with the artillery on rafts. The vast flotilla pro- 

* * * L— Vol. XII. 

266 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^tor> Irvio$ 

ceeded slowly down the lake, with banners and pennons 
fluttering in the summer breeze; arms glittering in the sun- 
shine, and martial music echoing along the wood-clad moun- 
tains. With Abercrombie went Lord Howe, a young noble- 
man, brave and enterprising, full of martial enthusiasm, and 
endeared to the soldiery by the generosity of his disposition 
and the sweetness of his manners. 

On the first night they bivouacked for some hours at 
Sabbath-day Point, but re-embarked before midnight. The 
next day they landed on a point on the western shore, just 
at the entrance of the strait leading to Lake Cham plain. 
Here they were formed into three columns, and pushed for- 

They soon came upon the enemy's advanced guard, a 
battalion encamped behind a log breastwork. The French 
set fire to their camp and retreated. The columns kept their 
form and pressed forward, but through ignorance of their 
guides became bewildered in a dense forest, fell into con- 
fusion, and blundered upon each other. 

Lord Howe urged on with the van of the right center 
column. Putnam, who was with him, and more experienced 
in forest warfare, endeavored in vain to inspire him with 
caution. After a time they came upon a detachment of the 
retreating foe, who, like themselves, had lost their way. A 
severe conflict ensued. Lord Howe, who gallantly led the 
van, was killed at the onset. His fall gave new ardor to his 
troops. The enemy were routed, some slain, some drowned, 
about one hundred and fifty taken prisoners, including five 
officers. Nothing further was done that day. The death 
of Lord Howe more than counterbalanced the defeat of the 
enemy. His loss was bewailed not merely by the army, but 
by the American people ; for it is singular how much this 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)0t:o9 267 

young nobleman, in a short time, had made himself beloved. 
The point near which the troops had landed still bears his 
name; the place where he fell is still pointed out; and 
Massachusetts voted him a monument in Westminster 

With Lord Howe expired the master spirit of the enter- 
prise. Abercrombie fell back to the landing-place. The 
next day he sent out a strong detachment of regulars, royal 
provincials, and bateau men, under Lieutenant-colonel Brad- 
street, of New York, to secure a saw-mill, which the enemy 
had abandoned. This done, he followed on the same even- 
ing with the main forces, and took post at the mill, within 
two miles of the fort. Here he was joined by Sir William 
Johnson, with between four and five hundred savage war- 
riors from the Mohawk River. 

Montcalm had called in all his forces, between three and 
four thousand men, and was strongly posted behind deep 
intrenchments and breastworks eight feet high; with an 
abatis, or felled trees, in front of his lines, presenting a 
horrid barrier, with their jagged boughs pointing outward. 
Abercrombie was deceived as to the strength of the French 
works; his engineers persuaded him they were formidable 
only in appearance, but really weak and flimsy. Without 
waiting for the arrival of his cannon, and against the opinion 
of his most judicious officers, he gave orders to storm the 
works. Never were rash orders more gallantly obeyed. The 
men rushed forward with fixed bayonets, and attempted to 
force their way through, or scramble over the abatis, under 
a sheeted fire of swivels and musketry. In the desperation 
of the moment the officers even tried to cut their way through 
with their swords. Some even reached the parapet, where 
they were shot down. The breastwork was too high to be 

£68 U/orKs of U/a8l?ii)$toi) Irvir>$ 

surmounted, and gave a secure covert to the enemy. Re- 
peated assaults were made, and as often repelled, with dread- 
ful havoc. The Iroquois warriors, who had arrived with Sir 
William Johnson, took no part, it is said, in this fierce con- 
flict, but stood aloof as unconcerned spectators of the bloody 
strife of white men. 

After four hours of desperate and fruitless fighting, Aber- 
crombie, who had all the time remained aloof at the saw- 
mills, gave up the ill-judged attempt, and withdrew once 
more to the landing-place, with the loss of nearly two thou- 
sand in killed and wounded. Had not the vastly inferior 
force of Montcalm prevented him from sallying beyond his 
trenches, the retreat of the British might have been pushed 
to a headlong and disastrous flight. 

Abercrombie had still nearly four times the number of 
the enemy, with cannon, and all the means of carrying on 
a siege, with every prospect of success; but the failure of 
this rash assault seems completely to have dismayed him. 
The next day he re-embarked all his troops, and returned 
across that lake where his disgraced banners had recently 
waved so proudly. 

While the general was planning fortifications on Lake 
George, Colonel Bradstreet obtained permission to carry into 
effect an expedition which he had for some time meditated, 
and which had been a favored project with the lamented 
Howe. This was to reduce Fort Frontenac, the stronghold 
of the French on the north side of the entrance of Lake 
Ontario, commanding the mouth of the St. Lawrence. This 
post was a central point of Indian trade, whither the tribes 
resorted from all parts of a vast interior, sometimes a dis- 
tance of a thousand miles, to traffic away their peltries with 
the fur-traders. It was, moreover, a magazine for the more 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 269 

southern posts, among which was Fort Duquesne on the 

Bradstreet was an officer of spirit. Pushing his way 
along the valley of the Mohawk and by the Oneida, where 
he was joined by several warriors of the Six Nations, he 
arrived at Oswego in August, with nearly three thousand 
men, the greater part of them provincial troops of New York 
and Massachusetts. Embarking at Oswego in open boats, 
he crossed Lake Ontario, and landed within a mile of Fron- 
tenac. The fort mounted sixty guns and several mortars, 
yet though a place of such importance, the garrison con- 
sisted of merely one hundred and ten men, and a few In- 
dians. These either fled or surrendered at discretion. In 
the fort was an immense amount of merchandise and mili- 
tary stores; part of the latter intended for the supply of 
Fort Duquesne, In the harbor were nine armed vessels, 
some of them carrying eighteen guns; the whole of the 
enemy's shipping on the lake. Two of these Colonel Brad- 
street freighted with part of the spoils of the fort, the others 
he destroyed ; then having dismantled the fortifications, and 
laid waste everything which he could not carry away, he 
recrossed the lake to Oswego, and returned with his troops 
to the army on Lake George. 

270 U/orl^s of U/asfrin^tOQ Iruir>$ 


Slow Operations — Washington orders out the Militia— Mission to 
Williamsburg — Halt at Mr. Chamberlayne's — Mrs. Martha 
Custis — A brief Courtship — An Engagement — Return to Win- 
chester — The Rifle Dress — Indian Scouts — Washington elected 
to the House of Burgesses — Tidings of Amherst's Success — The 
New Road to Fort Duquesne — March for the Fort — Indiscreet 
Conduct of Major Grant — Disastrous Consequences — Washing- 
ton advances against Fort Duquesne— End of the Expedition — 
Washington returns Home — His Marriage 

Operations went on slowly in that part of the year's 
campaign in which Washington was immediately engaged — 
the expedition against Fort Duquesne. Brigadier-general 
Forbes, who was commander-in-chief, was detained at Phila- 
delphia by those delays and cross-purposes incident to mili- 
tary affairs in a new country. Colonel Bouquet, who was 
to command the advanced division, took his station, with 
a corps of regulars, at Raystown, in the center of Pennsyl- 
vania. There slowly assembled troops from various parts. 
Three thousand Pennsylvanians, twelve hundred and fifty 
South Carolinians, and a few hundred men from elsewhere. 

Washington, in the meantime, gathered together his scat- 
tered regiment at Winchester, some from a distance of two 
hundred miles, and diligently disciplined his recruits. He 
had two Virginia regiments under him, amounting, when 
complete, to about nineteen hundred men. Seven hundred 
Indian warriors, also, came lagging into his camp, lured by 
the prospect of a successful campaign. 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)$toi7 271 

The president of the council had given Washington a 
discretionary power in the present juncture, to order out 
militia for the purpose of garrisoning the fort in the absence 
of the regular troops. Washington exercised the power with 
extreme reluctance. He considered it, he said, an affair of 
too important and delicate a nature for him to manage, and 
apprehended the discontent it might occasion. In fact, his 
sympathies were always with the husbandmen and the 
laborers of the soil, and he deplored the evils imposed upon 
them by arbitrary drafts for military service ; a scruple not 
often indulged by youthful commanders. 

The force thus assembling was in want of arms, tents, 
field-equipage, and almost every requisite. Washington had 
made repeated representations, by letter, of the destitute 
state of the Virginia troops, but without avail; he was now 
ordered by Sir John St. Clair, the quartermaster-general of 
the forces, under General Forbes, to repair to Williamsburg, 
and lay the state of the case before the council. He set off 
promptly on horseback, attended by Bishop, the well-trained 
military servant who had served the late General Braddock. 
It proved an eventful journey, though not in a military point 
of view. In crossing a ferry of the Pamunkey, a branch of 
York River, he fell in company with a Mr. Chamberlayne, 
who lived in the neighborhood, and who, in the spirit of 
Virginian hospitality, claimed him as a guest. It was with 
difficulty Washington could be prevailed on to halt for din- 
ner, so impatient was he to arrive at Williamsburg and 
accomplish his mission. 

Among the guests at Mr. Chamberlayne 's was a young 
and blooming widow, Mrs. Martha Custis, daughter of Mr. 
John Danridge, both patrician names in the province. Her 
husband, John Parke Custis, had been dead about three 

272 U/orKs of U/asfyir^tor) Iruii)$ 

years, leaving her with two young children, and a large 
fortune. She is represented as being rather below the middle 
size, but extremely well shaped, with an agreeable counte- 
nance, dark hazel eyes and hair, and those frank, engaging 
manners, so captivating in Southern women. "We are not 
informed whether Washington had met with her before; 
probably not during her widowhood, as during that time he 
had been almost continually on the frontier. We have shown 
that, with all his gravity and reserve, he was quickly sus- 
ceptible to female charms ; and they may have had a greater 
effect upon him when thus casually encountered in fleeting 
moments snatched from the cares and perplexities and rude 
scenes of frontier warfare. At any rate, his heart appears 
to have been taken by surprise. 

The dinner, which in those days was an earlier meal than 
at present, seemed all too short. The afternoon passed away 
like a dream. Bishop was punctual to the orders he had 
received on halting; the horses pawed at the door; but, for 
once, Washington loitered in the path of duty. The horses 
were countermanded, and it was not until the next morning 
that he was again in the saddle, spurring for Williamsburg. 
Happily the White House, the residence of Mrs. Custis, was 
in New Kent County, at no great distance from that city, so 
that he had opportunities of visiting her in the intervals of 
business. His time for courtship, however, was brief. Mili- 
tary duties called him back almost immediately to Winches- 
ter; but he feared, should he leave the matter in suspense, 
some more enterprising rival might supplant him during his 
absence, as in the case of Miss Philipse, at New York. He 
improved, therefore, his brief opportunity to the utmost. The 
blooming widow had many suitors, but Washington was 
graced with that renown so ennobling in the eyes of woman. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi) 273 

In a word, before they separated, they had mutually 
plighted their faith, and tne marriage was to take place 
as soon as the campaign against Fort Duquesne was at 
an end. 

Before returning to Winchester, Washington was obliged 
to hold conferences with Sir John St. Clair and Colonel 
Bouquet, at an intermediate rendezvous, to give them in- 
formation respecting the frontiers, and arrange about the 
marching of his troops. His constant word to them was 
forward! forward! For the precious time for action was 
slipping away, and he feared their Indian allies, so impor- 
tant to their security while on the march, might, with 
their usual fickleness, lose patience and return home. 

On arriving at Winchester, he found his troops restless 
and discontented from prolonged inaction; the inhabitants 
impatient of the burdens imposed on them, and of the dis- 
turbances of an idle camp ; while the Indians, as he appre- 
hended, had deserted outright. It was a great relief, there- 
fore, when he received orders from the commander-in-chief 
to repair to Fort Cumberland. He arrived there on the 
2d of July, and proceeded to open a road between that post 
and headquarters, at Raystown, thirty miles distant, where 
Colonel Bouquet was stationed. 

His troops were scantily supplied with regimental cloth- 
ing. The weather was oppressively warm. He now con- 
ceived the idea of equipping them in the light Indian hunt- 
ing garb, and even of adopting it himself. Two companies 
were accordingly equipped in this style, and sent under the 
command of Major Lewis to headquarters. "It is an un- 
becoming dress, I own, for an officer," writes Washington; 
"but convenience, rather than show, I think, should be con- 
sulted. The reduction of bat-horses alone would be suffi- 

274 U/orKs of U/asr;ir;$tOD Iruir;^ 

cient to recommend it; for nothing is more certain than 
that less baggage would be required." 

The experiment was successful. "The dress takes very 
well here," writes Colonel Bouquet; "and, thank God, we 
see nothing but shirts and blankets. . . Their dress should 
be one pattern for this expedition." Such was probably the 
origin of the American rifle dress, afterward so much worn 
in warfare, and modeled on the Indian costume. 

The army was now annoyed by scouting parties of Indians 
hovering about the neighborhood. Expresses passing be- 
tween the posts were fired upon; a wagoner was shot down. 
Washington sent out counter-parties of Cherokees. Colonel 
Bouquet required that each party should be accompanied by 
an officer and a number of white men. Washington com- 
plied with the order, though he considered them an encum- 
brance rather than an advantage. "Small parties of In- 
dians," said he, "will more effectually harass the enemy, by 
keeping them under continual alarms, than any parties of 
white men can do. For small parties of the latter are not 
equal to the task, not being so dexterous at skulking as 
Indians; and large parties will be discovered by their spies 
early enough to have a superior force opposed to them." 
With all these efforts, however, he was never able fully to 
make the officers of the regular army appreciate the impor- 
tance of Indian allies in these campaigns in the wilderness. 

On the other hand, he earnestly discountenanced a propo- 
sition of Colonel Bouquet, to make an irruption into the 
enemy's country with a strong party of regulars. Such a 
detachment, he observed, could not be sent without a cum- 
bersome train of supplies, which would discover it to the 
enemy, who must at that time be collecting his whole force 
at Fort Duquesne; the enterprise, therefore, would be likely 

Cife of \JJa&t)iT)$tOT) 275 

to terminate in a miscarriage, if not in the destruction of 
the party. We shall see that his opinion was oracular. 

As Washington intended to retire from military life at 
the close of this campaign, he had proposed himself to the 
electors of Frederick County as their representative in the 
House of Burgesses. The election was coming on at Win- 
chester; his friends pressed him to attend it, and Colonel 
Bouquet gave him leave of absence; but he declined to 
absent himself from his post for the promotion of his political 
interests. There were three competitors in the field, yet so 
high was the public opinion of his merit, that, though Win- 
chester has been his headquarters for two or three years past, 
and he had occasionally enforced martial law with a rigorous 
hand, he was elected by a large majority. The election was 
carried on somewhat in the English style. There was much 
eating and drinking at the expense of the candidate. Wash- 
ington appeared on the hustings by proxy, and his repre- 
sentative was chaired about the town with enthusiastic 
applause and huzzaing for Colonel Washington. 

On the 21st of July arrived tidings of the brilliant suc- 
cess of that part of the scheme of the year's campaign con- 
ducted by General Amherst and Admiral Boscawen, who 
had reduced the strong town of Louisburg and gained pos- 
session of the island of Cape Breton. This intelligence 
increased Washington's impatience at the delays of the ex- 
pedition with which he was connected. He wished to rival 
these successes by a brilliant blow in the south. Perhaps 
a desire for personal distinction in the eyes of the lady of 
his choice may have been at the bottom of this impatience; 
for we are told that he kept up a constant correspondence 
with her throughout the campaign. 

Understanding that the commander-in-chief had some 

276 U/or^s of U/asbio^toi) Irving 

thoughts of throwing a body of light troops in the advance, 
he wrote to Colonel Bouquet, earnestly soliciting his influ- 
ence to have himself and his Virginia regiment included in 
the detachment. "If any argument is needed to obtain this 
favor," said he, "I hope, without vanity, I may be allowed 
to say that, from long intimacy with these woods, and fre- 
quent scouting in them, my men are at least as well ac- 
quainted with all the passes and difficulties as any troops 
that will be employed." 

He soon learned to his surprise, however, that the road 
to which his men were accustomed, and which had been 
worked by Braddock's troops in his campaign, was not to 
be taken in the present expedition, but a new one opened 
through the heart of Pennsylvania, from Raystown to Fort 
Duquesne, on the track generally taken by the northern 
traders. He instantly commenced long and repeated remon- 
strances on the subject; representing that Braddock's road, 
from recent examination, only needed partial repairs, and 
showing by clear calculation that an army could reach Fort 
Duquesne by that route in thirty-four days, so that the 
whole campaign might be effected by the middle of October; 
whereas the extreme labor of opening a new road across 
mountains, swamps, and through a densely wooded country, 
would detain them so late that the season would be over 
before they could reach the scene of action. His represen- 
tations were of no avail. The officers of the regular service 
had received a fearful idea of Braddock's road from his own 
dispatches, wherein he had described it as lying "across 
mountains and rocks of an excessive height, vastly steep, 
and divided by torrents and rivers," whereas the Pennsyl- 
vania traders, who were anxious for the opening of the new 
road through their province, described the country through 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 277 

which it would pass as less difficult and its streams less sub- 
ject to inundation; above all, it was a direct line, and fifty 
miles nearer. This route, therefore, to the great regret of 
Washington and the indignation of the Virginia Assembly, 
was definitely adopted, and sixteen hundred men were im- 
mediately thrown in the advance from Raystown to work 
upon it. 

The first of September found Washington still encamped' 
at Fort Cumberland, his troops sickly and dispirited, and the 
brilliant expedition which he had anticipated dwindling down 
into a tedious operation of road -making. In the meantime, 
his scouts brought him word that the whole force at Fort 
Duquesne, on the 13th of August, Indians included, did not 
exceed eight hundred men: had an early campaign been 
pressed forward, as he recommended, the place by this time 
would have been captured. At length, in the month of 
September, he received orders from General Forbes to join 
him with his troops at Raystown, where he had just arrived, 
having been detained by severe illness. He was received 
by the general with the highest marks of respect. On all 
occasions, both in private and at councils of war, that com- 
mander treated his opinions with the greatest deference. 
He, moreover, adopted a plan drawn out by Washington for 
the march of the army ; and an order of battle which still 
exists, furnishing a proof of his skill in frontier warfare. 

It was now the middle of September; yet the great body 
ot men engaged in opening the new military road, after 
incredible toil, had advanced but about forty-five miles, to 
a place called Loyal Hannan, a little beyond Laurel Hill. 
Colonel Bouquet, who commanded the division of nearly two 
thousand men sent forward to open this road, had halted at 
Loyal Hannan to establish a military post and deposit. 

£78 U/orl^s of U/as^ir>^top Irvip$ 

He was upward of fifty miles from Fort Duquesne, and 
was tempted to adopt the measure, so strongly discounte- 
nanced by Washington, of sending a party on a foray into the 
enemy's country. He accordingly detached Major Grant 
with eight hundred picked men, some of them Highlanders, 
others in Indian garb, the part of Washington's Virginian 
regiment sent forward by him from Cumberland under com- 
mand of Major Lewis. 

The instructions given to Major Grant were merely to 
reconnoiter the country in the neighborhood of Fort Du- 
quesne, and ascertain the strength and position of the enemy. 
He conducted the enterprise with the foolhardiness of a man 
eager for personal notoriety. His whole object seems to 
have been by open bravado to provoke an action. The 
enemy were apprised, through their scouts, of his approach, 
but suffered him to advance unmolested. Arriving at night 
in the neighborhood of the fort, he posted his men on a hill, 
and sent out a party of observation, who set fire to a log 
house near the walls, and returned to the encampment. As 
if this were not sufficient to put the enemy on the alert, he 
ordered the reveille to be beaten in the morning in several 
places; then, posting Major Lewis with his provincial troops 
at a distance in the rear to protect the baggage, he marshaled 
his regulars in battle array, and sent an engineer, with a 
covering party, to take a plan of the works in full view of 
the garrison. 

Not a gun was fired by the fort ; the silence which was 
maintained was mistaken for fear, and increased the arro- 
gance and blind security of the British commander. At 
length, when he was thrown off his guard, there was a sud- 
den sally of the garrison, and an attack on the flanks by 
Indians hid in ambush. A scene now occurred similar to 

Cife of U/asr;in$tor; 279 

that of the defeat of Braddock. The British officers mar- 
shaled their men according to European tactics, and the 
Highlanders for some time stood their ground bravely; but 
the destructive fire and horrid yells of the Indians soon pro- 
duced panic and confusion. Major Lewis, at the first noise 
of the attack, left Captain Bullitt, with fifty Virginians, to 
guard the baggage, and hastened with the main part of his 
men to the scene of action. The contest was kept up for 
some time, but the confusion was irretrievable. The Indians 
sallied from their concealment, and attacked with the toma- 
hawk and scalping-knife. Lewis fought hand to hand with 
an Indian brave, whom he laid at his feet, but was sur- 
rounded by others, and only saved his life by surrendering 
himself to a French officer. Major Grant surrendered him- 
self in like manner. The whole detachment was put to rout 
with dreadful carnage. 

Captain Bullitt rallied several of the fugitives, and pre- 
pared to make a forlorn stand, as the only chance where the 
enemy was overwhelming and merciless. Dispatching the 
most valuable baggage with the strongest horses, he made 
a barricade with the baggage wagons, behind which he 
posted his men, giving them orders how they were to act. 
All this was the thought and the work almost of a moment, 
for the savages, having finished the havoc and plunder of 
the field of battle, were hastening in pursuit of the fugitives. 
Bullitt suffered them to come near, when, on a concerted 
signal, a destructive fire was opened from behind the bag- 
gage wagons. They were checked for a time; but were 
again pressing forward in greater numbers, when Bullitt 
and his men held out the signal of capitulation, and advanced 
as if to surrender. When within eight yards of the enemy, 
they suddenly leveled their arms, poured a most effective 

280 ll/or^s of U/a8l?i9<$toi) Irvip<$ 

volley, and then charged with the bayonet. The Indians 
fled in dismay, and Bullitt took advantage of this check 
to retreat with all speed, collecting the wounded and the 
scattered fugitives as he advanced. The routed detachment 
came back in fragments to Colonel Bouquet's camp at Loyal 
Hannan, with the loss of twenty-one officers and two hun- 
dred and seventy- three privates killed and taken. The 
Highlanders and the Virginians were those that fought the 
best and suffered the most in this bloody battle. Washing- 
ton's regiment lost six officers and sixty-two privates. 

If Washington could have taken any pride in seeing his 
presages of misfortune verified, he might have been gratified 
by the result of this rash "irruption into the enemy's coun- 
try," which was exactly what he had predicted. In his let- 
ters to Governor Fauquier, however, he bears lightly on the 
error of Colonel Bouquet. "From all accounts I can collect,' ' 
says he, "it appears very clear that this was a very ill-con- 
certed, or a very ill-executed plan, perhaps both; but it 
seems to be generally acknowledged that Major Grant ex- 
ceeded his orders, and that no disposition was made for 

Washington, who was at Raystown when the disastrous 
news arrived, was publicly complimented by General Forbes, 
on the gallant conduct of his Virginian troops, and Bullitt's 
behavior was "a matter of great admiration." The latter 
was soon after rewarded with a major's commission. 

As a further mark of the high opinion now entertained 
of provincial troops for frontier service, Washington was 
given the command of a division, partly composed of his 
own men, to keep in the advance of the main body, clear the 
roads, throw out scouting parties, and repel Indian attacks. 

It was the 5th of November before the whole army as- 

Cife of lI/asl?ir}<$ton 281 

sembled at Loyal Hannan. Winter was now at hand, and 
upward of fifty miles of wilderness were yet to be traversed, 
by a road not yet formed, before they could reach Fort Du- 
quesne. Again, Washington's predictions seemed likely to 
be verified, and the expedition to be defeated by delay; for 
in a council of war, it was determined to be impracticable 
to advance further with the army that season. Three pris- 
oners, however, who were brought in, gave such an account 
of the weak state of the garrison at Fort Duquesne, its want 
of provisions, and the defection of the Indians, that it was 
determined to push forward. The march was accordingly 
resumed, but without tents or baggage, and with only a light 
train of artillery. 

Washington still kept the advance. After leaving Loyal 
Hannan, the road presented traces of the late defeat of 
Grant, being strewed with human bones, the sad relics of 
fugitives cut down by the Indians, or of wounded soldiers 
who had died on the retreat ; they lay mouldering in various 
stages of decay, mingled with the bones of horses and of 
oxen. As they approached Fort Duquesne, these mementos 
of former disasters became more frequent ; and the bones of 
those massacred in the defeat of Braddock still lay scattered 
about the battlefield, whitening in the sun. 

At length the army arrived in sight of Fort Duquesne, 
advancing with great precaution, and expecting a vigorous 
defense ; but that formidable fortress, the terror and scourge 
of the frontier, and the object of such warlike enterprise, 
fell without a blow. The recent successes of the English 
forces in Canada, particularly the capture and destruction 
of Fort Frontenac, had left the garrison without hope of 
re-enforcements and supplies. The whole force, at the time, 
did not exceed five hundred men, and the provisions were 

282 U/orKs of U/a8f?ip$tor) Iri/ip$ 

nearly exhausted. The commander, therefore, waited only 
until the English army was within one day's march, when 
he embarked his troops at night in bateaux, blew up his 
magazines, set fire to the fort, and retreated down the Ohio, 
by the light of the flames. On the 25th of November, 
"Washington, with the advanced guard, marched in, and 
planted the British flag on the yet smoking ruins. 

One of the first offices of the army was to collect and 
bury, in one common tomb, the bones of their fellow-soldiers 
who had fallen in the battles of Braddock and Grant* In 
this pious duty it is said every one joined, from the general 
down to the private soldier; and some veterans assisted, 
with heavy hearts and frequent ejaculations of poignant 
feeling, who had been present in the scenes of defeat and 

The ruins of the fortress were now put in a defensible 
state, and garrisoned by two hundred men from Washing- 
ton's regiment; the name was changed to that of Fort Pitt, 
in honor of the illustrious British minister, whose measures 
had given vigor and effect to this year's campaign; it has 
since been modified into Pittsburg, and designates one of the 
most busy and populous cities of the interior. 

The reduction of Fort Duquesne terminated, as Washing- 
ton had foreseen, the troubles and dangers of the southern 
frontier. The French domination of the Ohio was at an 
end; the Indians, as usual, paid homage to the conqueriog 
power, and a treaty of peace was concluded with all the 
tribes between the Ohio and the lakes. 

With this campaign ended, for the present, the military 
career of Washington. His great object was attained, the 
restoration of quiet and security to his native province; and, 
having abandoned all hope of attaining rank in the regular 

Cife of Wa&tyT)$tOT) 283 

army, and his health being much impaired, he gave up his 
commission at the close of the year, and retired from the 
service, followed by the applause of his fellow-soldiers, and 
the gratitude and admiration of all his countrymen. 

His marriage with Mrs. Custis took place shortly after 
his return. It was celebrated on the 6th of January, 1759, 
at the White House, the residence of the bride, in the good 
old hospitable style of Virginia, amid a joyous assemblage of 
relatives and friends. 


Plan of Operations for 1759 — Investment of Fort Niagara — Death of 
Prideaux — Success of Sir William Johnson — Amherst at Ticon- 
deroga — Wolfe at Quebec — His Triumph and Death — Fate of 
Montcalm — Capitulation of Quebec — Attempt of De Levi to 
retake it — Arrival of a British Fleet — Last Stand of the French 
at Montreal— Surrender of Canada 

Before following Washington into the retirement of 
domestic life, we think it proper to notice the events wnich 
closed the great struggle between England and France for 
empire in America. In that struggle he had first become 
practiced in arms, and schooled in the ways of the world; 
and its results will be found connected with the history of 
his later years. 

General Abercrombie had been superseded as com* 
mander-in-chief of the forces in America by Major-general 
Amherst, who had gained great favor by the reduction of 
Louisburg. According to the plan of operations for 1759, 
General Wolfe, who had risen to fame by his gallant con- 

284 U/or^s of U/asl?ir}$ton Iruii><$ 

duct in the same affair, was to ascend the St. Lawrence in 
a fleet of ships of war, with eight thousand men, as soon as 
the river should be free of ice, and lay siege to Quebec, the 
capital of Canada. General Amherst, in the meantime, was 
to advance, as Abercrombie had done, by Lake George, 
against Ticonderoga and Crown Point; reduce those forts, 
cross Lake Champlain, push on to the St. Lawrence, and 
co-operate with Wolfe. 

A third expedition, under Brigadier-general Prideaux, 
aided by Sir William Johnson and his Indian warriors, was 
to attack Fort Niagara, which controlled the whole country 
of the Six Nations, and commanded the navigation of the 
great lakes and the intercourse between Canada and Louis- 
iana. Having reduced this fort, he was to traverse Lake 
Ontario, descend the St. Lawrence, capture Montreal, and 
join his forces with those of Amherst. 

The last-mentioned expedition was the first executed. 
General Prideaux embarked at Oswego on the first of J uly, 
with a large body of troops, regulars and provincials — the 
latter partly from New York. He was accompanied by Sir 
William Johnson, and his Indian braves of the Mohawk. 
Landing at an inlet of Lake Ontario, within a few miles of 
Fort Niagara, he advanced, without being opposed, and pro- 
ceeded to invest it. The garrison, six hundred strong, made 
a resolute defense. The siege was carried on by regular 
approaches, but pressed with vigor. On the 20th of July, 
Prideaux, in visiting his trenches, was killed by the bursting 
of a cohorn. Informed by express of this misfortune, Gen- 
eral Amherst detached from the main army Brigadier- 
general Gage, the officer who had led Braddock's advance, 
to take the command. 

In the meantime, the siege had been conducted by Sir 

Cife of \lfaz\)\r)$toT) 285 

William Johnson with courage and sagacity. He was desti- 
tute of military science, but had a natural aptness for war- 
fare, especially for the rough kind carried on in the wilder- 
ness. Being informed by his scouts that twelve hundred 
regular troops, drawn from Detroit, Venango, and Presque 
Isle, and led by D'Aubry, with a number of Indian auxili- 
aries, were hastening to the rescue, he detached a force of 
grenadiers and light infantry, with some of his Mohawk 
warriors, to intercept them. They came in sight of each 
other on the road between Niagara Falls and the fort, within 
the thundering sound of the one and the distant view of the 
other. Johnson's " braves" advanced to have a parley with 
the hostile redskins. The latter received them with a war- 
whoop, and Frenchman and savage made an impetuous 
onset. Johnson's regulars and provincials stood their ground 
firmly, while his red warriors fell on the flanks of the enemy. 
After a sharp conflict the French were broken, routed and 
pursued through the woods, with great carnage. Among 
the prisoners taken were seventeen officers. The next day 
Sir William Johnson sent a trumpet, summoning the garrison 
to surrender, to spare the effusion of blood, and prevent out- 
rages by the Indians. They had no alternative; were per- 
mitted to march out with the honors of war, and were pro- 
tected by Sir William from his Indian allies. Thus was 
secured the key to the communication between Lakes On- 
tario and Erie, and to the vast interior region connected with 
them. The blow alarmed the French for the safety of Mont- 
real, and De Levi, the second in command of their Canadian 
forces, hastened up from before Quebec, and took post at the 
fort of Oswegatchie (now Ogdensburg), to defend the passes 
of the St. Lawrence. 

We now proceed to notice the expedition against Ticon- 

286 ll/orl^s of U/as^ir^^tor) Iruio$ 

deroga and Crown Point. In the month of July General 
Amherst embarked with nearly twelve thousand men at the 
upper part of Lake George, and proceeded down it, as Aber- 
crombie had done in the preceding year, in a vast fleet of 
whale-boats, bateaux and rafts, and all the glitter and parade 
of war. On the 22d the army debarked at the lower part of 
the lake, and advanced toward Ticonderoga. After a slight 
skirmish with the advance guard, they secured the old post 
at the saw-mill. 

Montcalm was no longer in the fort ; he was absent for 
the protection of Quebec. The garrison did not exceed four 
hundred men. Bourlamarque, a brave officer, who com- 
manded, at first seemed disposed to make defense; but, 
against such overwhelming force, it would have been mad- 
ness. Dismantling the fortifications, therefore, he aban- 
doned them, as he did likewise those at Crown Point, and 
retreated down the lake, to assemble forces and make a 
stand at the Isle Aux Noix for the protection of Montreal 
and the province. 

Instead of following him up and hastening to co-operate 
with Wolfe, General Amherst proceeded to repair the works 
at Ticonderoga, and erect a new fort at Crown Point, though 
neither was in present danger of being attacked, nor would 
be of use if Canada were conquered. Amherst, however, 
was one of those cautious men, who, in seeking to be sure, 
are apt to be fatally slow. His delay enabled the enemy to 
rally their forces at Isle Aux Noix, and call in Canadian re- 
enforcements, while it deprived Wolfe of that co-operation 
which, it will be shown, was most essential to the general 
success of the campaign. 

Wolfe, with his eight thousand men, ascended the St. 
Lawrence in the fleet in the month of June. With him 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$toQ 287 

came Brigadiers Monckton, Townshend and Murray, youth- 
ful and brave like himself, and like himself already schooled 
in arms. Monckton, it will be recollected, had signalized 
himself, when a colonel, in the expedition in 1755, in which 
the French were driven from Nova Scotia. The grenadiers 
of the army were commanded by Colonel Guy Carleton, and 
part of the light infantry by Lieutenant-colonel William 
Howe, both destined to celebrity in after years in the annals 
of the American Revolution. Colonel Howe was brother of 
the gallant Lord Howe, whose fall in the preceding year was 
so generally lamented. Among the officers of the fleet was 
Jervis, the future admiral, and ultimately Earl St. Vincent; 
and the master of one of the ships was James Cook, after- 
ward renowned as a discoverer. 

About the end of June the troops debarked on the large, 
populous and well-cultivated Isle of Orleans, a little below 
Quebec, and encamped in its fertile fields. Quebec, the cit- 
adel of Canada, was strong by nature. It was built round 
the point of a rocky promontory, and flanked by precipices. 
The crystal current of the St. Lawrence swept by it on the 
right, and the river St. Charles flowed along on the left 
before mingling with that mighty stream. The place was 
tolerably fortified, but art had not yet rendered it, as at 
the present day, impregnable. 

Montcalm commanded the post. His troops were more 
numerous than the assailants; but the greater part were 
Canadians, many of them inhabitants of Quebec; and he 
had a host of savages. His forces were drawn out along 
the northern shore below the city, from the river St. Charles 
to the Falls of Montmorency, and their position was secured 
by deep intrenchments. 

The night after the debarkation of Wolfe's troops, a f uri- 

}88 uVorl^s of U/asl?ir;$ton In/ipo" 

oas storm caused great damage to the transports, and sank 
some of the small craft. While it was still raging, a num- 
ber of fire-ships, sent to destroy the fleet, came driving 
down. They were boarded intrepidly by the British sea- 
men, and towed out of the way of doing harm. After much 
resistance Wolfe established batteries at the west point of the 
Isle of Orleans, and at Point Levi, on the right (or south) 
bank of the St. Lawrence, within cannon range of the city. 
Colonel Guy Carletoo commanded at the former battery; 
Brigadier Monckton at the latter. From Point Levi bomb- 
shells and red-hot shot were discharged ; many houses were 
set on fire in the upper town, the lower town was reduced to 
rubbish; the main fort, however, remained unharmed. 

Anxious for a decisive action, Wolfe, on the 9th of July, 
crossed over in boats from the Isle of Orleans, to the north 
bank of the St. Lawrence, and encamped below the Mont- 
morency. It was an ill-judged position, for there was still 
that tumultuous stream, with its rocky banks, between him 
and the camp of Montcalm ; but the ground he had chosen 
was higher than that occupied by the latter, and the Mont- 
morency had a ford below the falls, passable at low tide. 
Another ford was discovered, three miles within land, but 
the banks were steep, and shagged with forest. At both 
fords the vigilant Montcalm had thrown up breastworks and 
posted troops. 

On the 18th of July, Wolfe made a reconnoitering expe- 
dition up the river, with two armed sloops, and two trans- 
ports with troops. He passed Quebec unharmed, and care- 
fully noted the shores above it. Rugged cliffs rose almost 
from the water's edge. Above them, he was told, was an 
extent of level ground, called the Plains of Abraham, by 
which the upper town might be approached on its weakest 

Cife of U/asl?ir;<$ton 289 

side ; but how was that plain to be attained, when the cliffs 
for the most part were inaccessible, and every practicable 
place fortified? 

He returned to Montmorency disappointed, and resolved 
to attack Montcalm in his camp, however difficult to be ap- 
proached and however strongly posted. Townshend and 
Murray, with their brigades, were to cross the Montmorency 
at low tide, below the falls, and storm the redoubt thrown 
up in front of the ford. Monckton, at the same time, was 
to cross with part of his brigade in boats from Point Levi. 
The ship "Centurion," stationed in the channel, was to 
check the fire of a battery which commanded the ford; a 
train of artillery, planted on an eminence, was to enfilade 
the enemy's intrenchments ; and two armed flat-bottomed 
boats were to be run on shore near the redoubt, and favor 
the crossing of the troops. 

As usual, in complicated orders, part were misunder- 
stood or neglected, and confusion was the consequence. 
Many of the boats from Point Levi ran aground on a shal- 
low in the river, where they were exposed to a severe fire 
of shot and shell. Wolfe, who was on the shore, directing 
everything, endeavored to stop his impatient troops until the 
boats could be got afloat, and the men landed. Thirteen 
companies of grenadiers, and two hundred provincials, were 
the first to land. Without waiting for Brigadier Monckton 
and his regiments; without waiting for the co-operation of 
the troops under Townshend; without waiting even to be 
drawn up in form, the grenadiers rushed impetuously to- 
ward the enemy's intrenchments. A sheeted fire mowed 
them down, and drove them to take shelter behind the 
redoubt, near the ford, which the enemy had abandoned. 

Here they remained, unable to form under the galling fire 

* * * M— Vol. XII. 

290 U/orl^s of U/a8^ir>^tor> Iruii}<$ 

to which they were exposed, whenever they ventured from 
their covert. Monckton's brigade at length was landed, 
drawn up in order, and advanced to their relief, driving 
back the enemy. Thus protected, the grenadiers retreated 
as precipitately as they had advanced, leaving many of their 
comrades wounded on the field, who were massacred and 
scalped in their sight by the savages. The delay thus caused 
was fatal to the enterprise. The day was advanced; the 
weather became stormy ; the tide began to make ; at a later 
hour, retreat, in case of a second repulse, would be impos- 
sible. Wolfe, therefore, gave up the attack, and withdrew 
across the river, having lost upward of four hundred men, 
through this headlong impetuosity of tho grenadiers. The 
two vessels which had been run aground were set on fire, 
lest they should fall into the hands of the enemy.* 

Brigadier Murray was now detached, with twelve hun- 
dred men, in transports, to ascend above the town, and co- 
operate with Rear-admiral Holmes in destroying the enemy's 
shipping, and making descents upon the north shore. The 
shipping were safe ' from attack ; some stores and ammuni- 
tion were destroyed ; some prisoners taken, and Murray re- 
turned with the news of the capture of Fort Niagara, Ticon- 
deroga and Crown Point, and that Amherst was preparing 
to attack the Isle Aux Noix. 

Wolfe, of a delicate constitution and sensitive nature, had 
been deeply mortified by the severe check sustained at the 
Falls of Montmorency, fancying himself disgraced; and 
these successes of his fellow-commanders in other parts in- 
creased his self-upbraiding. The difficulties multiplying 
around him, and the delay of General Amherst in hasten- 

* Wolfe's letter to Pitt, September 2, 1759. 

Cife of \JJa&tyT)$toT) 291 

ing to his aid, preyed incessantly on his spirits; he was de- 
jected even to despondency, and declared he would never 
return without success, to be exposed, like other unfortunate 
commanders, to the sneers and reproaches of the populace. 
The agitation of his mind, and his acute sensibility, brought 
on a fever, which for some time incapacitated him from tak- 
ing the field. 

In the midst of his illness he called a council of war, in 
which the whole plan of operations was altered. It was de- 
termined to convey troops above the town, and endeavor to 
make a diversion in that direction, or draw Montcalm into 
the open field. Before carrying this plan into effect, Wolfe 
again reconnoitered the town in company with Admiral 
Saunders, but nothing better suggested itself. 

The brief Canadian summer was over; they were in the 
month of September. The camp at Montmorency was broken 
up. The troops were transported to Point Levi, leaving a 
sufficient number to man the batteries on the Isle of Orleans. 
On the fifth and sixth of September the embarkation took 
place above Point Levi, in transports which had been sent 
up for the purpose. Montcalm detached De Bougainville, 
with fifteen hundred men, to keep along the north shore 
above the town, watch the movements of the squadron, and 
prevent a landing. To deceive him, Admiral Holmes moved 
with the ships of war three leagues beyond the place where 
the landing was to be attempted. He was to drop down, 
however, in the night, and protect the landing. Cook, the 
future discoverer, also, was employed with others to sound 
the river, and place buoys opposite the camp of Montcalm, 
as if an attack were meditated in that quarter. 

Wolfe was still suffering under the effects of his late 
fever. "My constitution," writes he to a friend, "is entirely 

292 U/orKs of U/asl?ir;$ton Irvii)$ 

ruined, without the consolation of having done any consider- 
able service to the state, and without any prospect of it." 
Still he was unremitting in his exertions, seeking to wipe 
out the fancied disgrace incurred at the Falls of Montmo- 
rency. It was in this mood he is said to have composed and 
sung at his evening mess that little campaigning song still 
linked with his name : 

"Why, soldiers, why, 
Should we be melancholy, boys, 
Why, soldiers, why? 
Whose business 'tis to die!" 

Even when embarked in his midnight enterprise, the 
presentiment of death seems to have cast its shadow over 
him. A midshipman who was present* used to relate that, 
as Wolfe sat among his officers, and the boats floated down 
silently with the current, he recited, in low and touching 
tones, Gray's Elegy in a Country Churchyard, then just 
published. One stanza may especially have accorded with 
his melancholy mood : 


The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, 

And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 

Await alike the inevitable hour, 

The paths of glory lead but to the grave." 

"Now, gentlemen," said he, when he had finished, "I 
would rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec." 

The descent was made in flat-bottomed boats, past mid- 
night, on the 13th of September. They dropped down si- 
lently with the swift current. "Qui va la?" (who goes 
there?) cried a sentinel from the shore. "La France" 
replied a captain in the first boat, who understood the 

* Afterward Professor John Robinson, of Edinburgh. 

Cifc of \I/asl?ir>$tOD 293 

French language. "A quel regiment?" was the demand. 
"De la Reine" (the queen's), replied the captain, knowing 
that regiment was in De Bougainville's detachment. Fort- 
unately, a convoy of provisions was expected down from 
De Bougainville, which the sentinel supposed this to be. 
"Passe," cried he, and the boats glided on without further 
challenge. The landing took place in a cove near Cape Dia- 
mond, which still bears Wolfe's name. He had marked it 
in reconnoitering, and saw that a cragged path straggled up 
from it to the Heights of Abraham, which might be climbed, 
though with difficulty, and that it appeared to be slightly 
guarded at top. Wolfe was among the first that landed and 
ascended up the steep and narrow path, where not more than 
two could go abreast, and which had been broken up by cross 
ditches. Colonel Howe, at the same time, with the light in- 
fantry and Highlanders, scrambled up the woody precipices, 
helping themselves by the roots and branches, and putting 
to flight a sergeant's guard posted at the summit. Wolfe 
drew up the men in order as they mounted ; and by the 
break of day found himself in possession of the fateful Plains 
of Abraham. 

Montcalm was thunderstruck when word was brought to 
him in his camp that the English were on the heights, threat- 
ening the weakest part of the town. Abandoning his in- 
trenchments, he hastened across the river St. Charles and 
ascended the heights, which slope up gradually from its 
banks. His force was equal in number to that of the En- 
glish, but a great part was made up of colony troops and 
savages. When he saw the formidable host of regulars he 
had to contend with, he sent off swift messengers to summon 
De Bougainville with his detachment to his aid; and De 
Vaudreuil to re-enforce him with fifteen hundred men from 

294 U/or^s of U/asl?ip^top Iruir>$ 

the camp. In the meantime he prepared to flank the left of 
the English line and force them to the opposite precipices. 
Wolfe saw his aim, and sent Brigadier Townshend to coun- 
teract him with a regiment, which was formed en potence, 
and supported by two battalions, presenting on the left a 
double front. 

The French, in their haste, thinking they were to repel 
a mere scouting party, had brought but three light field- 
pieces with them ; the English had but a single gun, which 
the sailors had dragged up the heights. With these they 
cannonaded each other for a time, Montcalm still waiting 
for the aid he had summoned. At length, about nine 
o'clock, losing all patience, he led on his disciplined troops 
to a close conflict with small arms, the Indians to support 
them by a galling fire from thickets and corn-fields. The 
French advanced gallantly, but irregularly, firing rapidly, 
but with little effect. The English reserved their fire until 
their assailants were within forty yards, and then delivered 
it in deadly volleys. They suffered, however, from the lurk- 
ing savages, who singled out the officers. Wolfe, who was 
in front of the line, a conspicuous mark, was wounded by a 
ball in the wrist. He bound his handkerchief round the 
wound, and led on the grenadiers, with fixed bayonets, to 
charge the foe, who began to waver. Another ball struck 
him in the breast. He felt the wound to be mortal, and 
feared his fall might dishearten the troops. Leaning on a 
lieutenant for support: "Let not my brave fellows see me 
drop," said he faintly. He was borne off to the rear; water 
was brought to quench his thirst, and he was asked if he 
would have a surgeon. " It is needless, " he replied; "it is 
all over with me." He desired those about him to lay him 
down. The lieutenant seated himself on the ground, and 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tor> 295 

supported him in his arms. "They run! they run! see how 
they run !" cried one of the attendants. "Who run?" de- 
manded Wolfe, earnestly, like one aroused from sleep. 
"The enemy, sir; they give way everywhere." The spirit 
of the expiring hero flashed up. "Go, one of you, my lads, 
to Colonel Burton ; tell him to march Webb's regiment with 
all speed down to Charles' River, to cut off the retreat by 
the bridge." Then turning on his side: "Now, God be 
praised, I will die in peace!" said he, and expired* — soothed 
in his last moments by the idea that victory would obliterate 
the imagined disgrace at Montmorency. 

Brigadier Murray had indeed broken the center of the 
enemy, and the Highlanders were making deadly havoc 
with their claymores, driving the French into the town or 
down to their works on the river St. Charles. Monckton, 
the first brigadier, was disabled by a wound in the lungs, 
and the command devolved on Townshend, who hastened to 
re-form the troops of the center, disordered in pursuing the 
enemy. By this time De Bougainville appeared at a dis- 
tance in the rear, advancing with two thousand fresh troops, 
but he arrived too late to retrieve the day. The gallant 
Montcalm had received his death- wound, near St. John's 
Gate, while endeavoring to rally his flying troops, and had 
been borne into the town. 

Townshend advanced with a force to receive De Bougain • 
ville; but the latter avoided a combat and retired into woods 
and swamps, where it was not thought prudent to follow 
him. The English had obtained a complete victory; slain 
about five hundred of the enemy; taken above a thousand 
prisoners, and among them several officers ; and had a strong 

* Hist. Jour, of Capt. John Knox, vol. i., p. 79. 

296 U/orK» of U/asfrin^toi) Iruip<$ 

position on the Plains of Abraham, which they hastened to 
fortify with redoubts, and artillery drawn up the heights. 

The brave Montcalm wrote a letter to General Towns- 
hend, recommending the prisoners to British humanity. 
When told by his surgeon that he could not survive above 
a few hours: "So much the better," replied he; "I shall not 
live to see the surrender of Quebec." To De Ramsey, the 
French king's lieutenant, who commanded the garrison, he 
consigned the defense of the city. ' ' To your keeping, ' ' said 
he, "I commend the honor of France. I'll neither give or- 
ders, nor interfere any further. I have business to attend 
to of greater moment than your ruined garrison, and this 
wretched country. My time is short — I shall pass this night 
with God, and prepare myself for death. I wish you all 
comfort ; and to be happily extricated from your present per- 
plexities." He then called for his chaplain, who, with the 
bishop of the colony, remained with him through the night. 
He expired early in the morning, dying like a brave soldier 
and a devout Catholic. Never did two worthier foes mingle 
their life-blood on the battlefield than Wolfe and Montcalm.* 

Preparations were now made by the army and the fleet 
to make an attack on both upper and lower town ; but the 
spirit of the garrison was broken, and the inhabitants were 
clamorous for the safety of their wives and children. On 
the 17th of September, Quebec capitulated, and was taken 
possession of by the British, who hastened to put it in a com- 
plete posture of defense. A garrison of six thousand effect- 
ive men was placed in it, under the command of Brigadier- 
general Murray, and victualed from the fleet. General 
Townshend embarked with Admiral Saunders, and returned 

.Knox; Hist. Jour., vol. L, p. 77. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 297 

to England ; and the wounded General Monckton was con- 
veyed to New York, of which he afterward became governor. 

Had Amherst followed up his success at Ticonderoga the 
preceding summer, the year's campaign would have ended, 
as had been projected, in the subjugation of Canada. His 
cautious delay gave De Levi, the successor of Montcalm, 
time to rally, concentrate the scattered French forces, and 
struggle for the salvation of the province. 

In the following spring, as soon as the river St. Law- 
rence opened, he approached Quebec, and landed at Point 
au Tremble, about twelve miles off. The garrison had suf- 
fered dreadfully during the winter from excessive cold, want 
of vegetables and of fresh provisions. Many had died of 
scurvy, and many more were ill. Murray, sanguine and in- 
judicious, on hearing that De Levi was advancing with ten 
thousand men and five hundred Indians, sallied out with his 
diminished forces of not more than three thousand. English 
soldiers, he boasted, were habituated to victory ; he had a 
fine train of artillery, and stood a better chance in the field 
than cooped up in a wretched fortification. If defeated, he 
would defend the place to the last extremity, and then re- 
treat to the Isle of Orleans, and wait for re-enforcements. 
More brave than discreet, he attacked the vanguard of the 
enemy; the battle which took place was fierce and sangui- 
nary. Murray's troops had caught his own headlong valor, 
and fought until near a third of their number were slain. 
They were at length driven back into the town, leaving their 
boasted train of artillery on the field. 

De Levi opened trenches before the town the very even- 
ing of the battle. Three French ships, which had descended 
the river, furnished him with cannon, mortars, and ammuni- 
tion. By the 11th of May, he had one bomb battery, and 

298 U/orl^s of lI/a8l?ip^top Iruir;$ 

three batteries of cannon. Murray, equally alert within the 
walls, strengthened his defenses, and kept up a vigorous fire. 
His garrison was now reduced to two hundred and twenty 
effective men, and he himself, with all his vaunting spirit, 
was driven almost to despair when a British fleet arrived in 
the river. The whole scene was now reversed. One of the 
French frigates was driven on the rocks above Cape Dia- 
mond; another ran on shore, and was burned; the rest of 
their vessels were either taken or destroyed. The besieging 
army retreated in the night, leaving provisions, implements, 
and artillery behind them ; and so rapid was their flight that 
Murray, who sallied forth on the following day, could not 
overtake them. 

A last stand for the preservation of the colony was now 
made by the French at Montreal, where De Vaudreuil fixed 
his headquarters, fortified himself, and called in all possible 
aid, Canadian and Indian. 

The cautious, but tardy Amherst, was now in the field to 
carry out the plan in which he had fallen short in the previ- 
ous year. He sent orders to General Murray to advance by 
water against Montreal, with all the force that could be 
spared from Quebec; he detached a body of troops under 
Colonel Haviland from Crown Point, to cross Lake Cham- 
plain, take possession of the Isle Aux Noix, and push on to 
the St. Lawrence, while he took the roundabout way with 
his main army by the Mohawk and Oneida Rivers to Lake 
Ontario ; thence to descend the St. Lawrence to Montreal. 

Murray, according to orders, embarked his troops in a 
great number of small vessels, and ascended the river in 
characteristic style, publishing manifestoes in the Canadian 
villages, disarming the inhabitants and exacting the oath of 
neutrality. He looked forward to new laurels at Montreal, 

Cife of U/asl?ir>($tOQ 299 

but the slow and sure Amherst had anticipated him. That 
worthy general, after delaying on Lake Ontario to send out 
cruisers and stopping to repair petty forts on the upper part 
of the St. Lawrence, which had been deserted by their gar- 
risons or surrendered without firing a gun, arrived on the 
6th of September at the island of Montreal, routed some light 
skirmishing parties, and presented himself before the town. 
Vaudreuil found himself threatened by an army of nearly 
ten thousand men and a host of Indians; for Amherst had 
called in the aid of Sir William Johnson and his Mohawk 
braves. To withstand a siege in an almost open town 
against such superior force was out of the question; espe- 
cially as Murray, from Quebec, and Haviland, from Crown 
Point, were at hand with additional troops. A capitulation 
accordingly took place on the 8th of September, including 
the surrender not merely of Montreal, but of all Canada. 

Thus ended the contest between France and England for 
dominion in America, in which, as has been said, the first 
gun was fired in Washington's encounter with De Jumon- 
ville. A French statesman and diplomatist consoled himself 
by the persuasion that it would be a fatal triumph to Eng- 
land. It would remove the only check by which her colonies 
were kept in awe. "They will no longer need her protec- 
tion," said he; "she will call on them to contribute toward 
supporting the burdens they have helped to bring on her, 
and they will answer by striking off all dependence." * 

* Count de Vergennes, French embassador at Constan- 

300 U/or^s of Ufa&tyvQtOT) Irvii)$ 



Washington's Installation in the House of Burgesses — His Rural 
Life— Mount Vernon and its Vicinity — Aristocratical Days of 
Virginia — Washington's Management of his Estate — Domestic 
Habits — Fox-hunting — Lord Fairfax — Fishing and Duck-shoot- 
ing — The Poacher — Lynch Law — Aquatic State — Life at An- 
napolis — Washington in the Dismal Swamp 

For three months after his marriage Washington resided 
with his bride at the "White House." During his sojourn 
there he repaired to Williamsburg to take his seat in the 
House of Burgesses. By a vote of the House, it had been 
determined to greet his installation by a signal testimonial 
of respect. Accordingly, as soon as he took his seat, Mr. 
Robinson, the speaker, in eloquent language, dictated by the 
warmth of private friendship, returned thanks on behalf of 
the colony for the distinguished military services he had 
rendered to his country. 

Washington rose to reply; blushed — stammered — trem- 
bled, and could not utter a word. "Sit down, Mr. Wash- 
ington," said the speaker, with a smile, "your modesty 
equals your valor, ana that surpasses the power of any 
language I possess." 

Such was Washington's first launch into civil life, in 
which he was to be distinguished by the same judgment, 
devotion, courage, and magnanimity exhibited in his military 
career. He attended the House frequently during the re- 

Cife of U/asl?i9<$toi) 301 

mainder of the session, after which he conducted his bride 
to his favorite abode of Mount Vernon. 

Mr. Custis, the first husband of Mrs. Washington, had 
left large landed property, and forty-five thousand pounds 
sterling in money. One-third fell to his widow in her own 
right; two-thirds were inherited equally by her two children 
— a boy of six and a girl of four years of age. By a decree 
of the General Court, Washington was intrusted with the 
care of the property inherited by the children; a sacred and 
delicate trust, which he discharged in the most faithful and 
judicious manner, becoming more like a parent than a mere 
guardian to them. 

From a letter to his correspondent in England, it would 
appear that he had long entertained a desire to visit that 
country. Had he done so, his acknowledged merit and 
military services would have insured him a distinguished 
reception; and it has been intimated that the signal favor 
of government might have changed the current of his career. 
We believe him, however, to have been too pure a patriot, 
and too clearly possessed of the true interests of his country, 
to be diverted from the course which he ultimately adopted. 
His marriage, at any rate, had put an end to all traveling 
inclinations. In his letter from Mount Vernon, he writes: 
"I am now, I believe, fixed in this seat, with an agreeable 
partner for life, and I hope to find more happiness in retire- 
ment than I ever experienced in the wide and bustling 

This was no Utopian dream transiently indulged amid 
the charms of novelty. It was a deliberate purpose with 
him, the result of innate and enduring inclinations. Through- 
out the whole course of his career, agricultural life appears 
to have been his beau ideal of existence, which haunted his 

302 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top Iruir;^ 

thoughts even amid the stern duties of the field, and to 
which he recurred with unflagging interest whenever enabled 
to indulge his natural bias. 

Mount Vernon was his harbor of repose, where he re- 
peatedly furled his sail, and fancied himself anchored for 
life. No impulse of ambition tempted him thence; nothing 
but the call of his country, and his devotion to the public 
good. The place was endeared to him by the remembrance 
of his brother Lawrence, and of the happy days he had 
passed here with that brother in the days of boyhood ; but 
it was a delightful place in itself, and well calculated to 
inspire the rural feeling. 

The mansion was beautifully situated on a swelling 
height, crowned with wood, and commanding a magnificent 
view up and down the Potomac. The grounds immediately 
about it were laid out somewhat in the English taste. The 
estate was apportioned into separate farms, devoted to differ- 
ent kinds of culture, each having its allotted laborers. Much, 
however, was still covered with wild woods, seamed with 
deep dells and runs of water and indented with inlets ; haunts 
of deer, and lurking-places of foxes. The whole woody re- 
gion along the Potomac from Mount Vernon to Belvoir, and 
far beyond, with its range of forests and hills, and pictur- 
esque promontories, afforded sport of various kinds, and was 
a noble hunting-ground. Washington had hunted through 
it with old Lord Fairfax, in his stripling days; we do not 
wonder that his feelings throughout life incessantly reverted 
to it. 

"No estate in United America," observes he, in one of 
his letters, "is more pleasantly situated. In a high and 
healthy country ; in a latitude between the extremes of heat 
and cold; on one of the finest rivers in the world; a river 

Cife of U/asl?ir>$toi> 303 

well stocked with various kinds of fish at all seasons of the 
year, and in the spring with shad, herrings, bass, carp, stur- 
geon, etc., in great abundance. The borders of the estate 
are washed by more than ten miles of tide water; several 
valuable fisheries appertain to it : the whole shore, in fact, is 
one entire fishery." 

These were, as yet, the aristocratical days of Virginia. 
The estates were large, and continued in the same families 
by entails. Many of the wealthy planters were connected 
with old families in England. The young men, especially 
the elder sons, were often sent to finish their education there, 
and on their return brought out the tastes and habits of the 
mother country. The governors of Virginia were from 
the higher ranks of society, and maintained a corresponding 
state. The "established," or Episcopal Church, predomi- 
nated throughout the "ancient dominion," as it was termed; 
each county was divided into parishes, as in England — each 
with its parochial church, its parsonage and glebe. Wash- 
ington was vestryman of two parishes, Fairfax and Truro; 
the parochial church of the former was at Alexandria, ten 
miles from Mount Vernon; of the latter, at Pohick, about 
seven miles. The church at Pohick was rebuilt on a plan 
of his own, and in a great measure at his expense. At one 
or other of these churches he attended every Sunday, when 
the weather and the roads permitted. His demeanor was 
reverential and devout. Mrs. Washington knelt during the 
prayers; he always stood, as was the custom at that time. 
Both were communicants. 

Among his occasional visitors and associates were Cap- 
tain Hugh Mercer and Dr. Craik; the former, after his 
narrow escapes from the tomahawk and scalping knife, was 
quietly settled at Fredericksburg; the latter, after the cam- 

304 U/or^s of U/asbio^top Irving 

paigns on the frontier were over, had taken up his residence 
at Alexandria, and was now Washington's family physician. 
Both were drawn to him by campaigning ties and recollec- 
tions, and were ever welcome at Mount Vernon. 

A style of living prevailed among the opulent Virginian 
families in those days that has long since faded away. The 
houses were spacious, commodious, liberal in all their ap- 
pointments, and fitted to cope with the free-handed, open- 
hearted hospitality of the owners. Nothing was more 
common than to see handsome services of plate, elegant 
equipages, and superb carriage horses — all imported from 

The Virginians have always been noted for their love of 
horses; a manly passion which, in those days of opulence, 
they indulged without regard to expense. The rich planters 
vied with each other in their studs, importing the best En- 
glish stocks. Mention is made of one of the Randolphs of 
Tuckahoe, who built a stable for his favorite dapple gray 
horse, Shakespeare, with a recess for the bed of the negro 
groom, who always slept beside him at night. 

Washington, by his marriage, had added above one hun- 
dred thousand dollars to his already considerable fortune, 
and was enabled to live in ample and dignified style. His 
intimacy with the Fairfaxes, and his intercourse with British 
officers of rank, had perhaps had their influence on his mode 
of living. He had his chariot and four, with black pos- 
tilions in livery for the use of Mrs. Washington and her lady 
visitors. As for himself, he always appeared on horseback. 
His stable was well filled and admirably regulated. His 
stud was thoroughbred, and in excellent order. His house- 
hold books contain registers of the names, ages and marks 
of his various horses; such as Ajax, Blueskin, Valiant, 

Cife o| U/asI?iD<$toD 305 

Magnolia (an Arab), etc. Also his dogs, chiefly fox-hounds, 
Vulcan, Singer, Ringwood, Sweetlips, Forrester, Music, 
Rockwood, Truelove, etc.* 

A large Virginia estate, in those days, was a little em» 
pire. The mansion-house was the seat of government, with 
its numerous dependencies, such as kitchens, smoke-house, 
workshops, and stables. In this mansion the planter ruled 
supreme ; his steward or overseer was his prime minister and 
executive officer; he had his legion of house negroes for 
domestic service, and his host of field negroes for the culture 
of tobacco, Indian corn and other crops, and for other out-of- 
door labor. Their quarter formed a kind of hamlet apart, 
composed of various huts, with little gardens and poultry 
yards, all well-stocked, and swarms of little negroes gambol- 
ing in the sunshine. Then there were large wooden edifices 
for curing tobacco, the staple and most profitable production* 
and mills for grinding wheat and Indian corn, of which 
large fields were cultivated for the supply of the family and 
the maintenance of the negroes. 

Among the slaves were artificers of all kinds, tailors, 

* In one of his letter-books we find orders on his London 
agent for riding equipments. For example : 

1 Man's riding-saddle, hogskin seat, large plated stirrups 
and everything complete. Double reined bridle and Pelham 
bit, plated. 

A very neat and fashionable Newmarket saddle-cloth. 

A large and best portmanteau, saddle, bridle and pillion. 

Cloak-bag surcingle; checked saddle-cloth, holsters, etc. 

A riding-frock of a handsome drab-colored broadcloth, 
with plain double gilt buttons. 

A riding waistcoat of superfine scarlet cloth and gold 
lace, with buttons like those of the coat. 

A blue surtout coat. 

A neat switch whip, silver cap. 

Black velvet cap for servant. 

806 U/or^s of U/a8f?iD$too Iruio$ 

shoemakers, carpenters, smiths, wheelwrights, and so forth; 
so that a plantation produced everything within itself for 
ordinary use : as to articles of fashion and elegance, luxuries 
and expensive clothing, they were imported from London; 
for the planters on the main rivers, especially the Potomac, 
carried on an immediate trade with England. Their tobacco 
was put up by their own negroes, bore their own marks, was 
shipped on board of vessels which came up the rivers for the 
purpose, and consigned to some agent in Liverpool or Bristol, 
with whom the planter kept an account. 

The Virginia planters were prone to leave the care of 
their estates too much to their overseers, and to think per- 
sonal labor a degradation. Washington carried into his 
rural affairs the same method, activity and circumspection 
that had distinguished him in military life. He kept his own 
accounts, posted up his books, and balanced them with mer- 
cantile exactness. "We have examined them, as well as his 
diaries recording his daily occupations, and his letter-books, 
containing entries of shipments of tobacco and correspondence 
with his London agents. They are monuments of his busi- 
ness habits.* 

* The following letter of "Washington to his London cor- 
respondents will give an idea of the early intercourse of the 
Virginia planters with the mother country. 

"Our goods by the ' Liberty,' Capt. Walker, came to hand 
in good order and soon after his arrival, as they generally do 
when shipped in a vessel to this river [the Potomac], and 
scarce ever when they go to any others; for it don't often 
happen that a vessel bound to one river has goodr of any 
consequence to another; and the masters, in these cases, 
keep the packages till an accidental conveyance offers, and 
for want of better opportunities frequently commit them to 
boatmen who care very little for the goods so they get their 
freight, and often land them wherever it suits their conven- 
ience, not where they have engaged to do so. . . . A ship 

Cife of U/as^ipdtor? 307 

The products of his estate also became so noted for the 
faithfulness, as to quality and quantity, with which they 
were put up, that it is said any barrel of flour that bore the 
brand of George Washington, Mount Vernon, was exempted 
from the customary inspection in the West India ports.* 

He was an early riser, often before daybreak in the 
winter when the nights were long. On such occasions he 
lighted his own fire, and wrote or read by candle-light. He 
breakfasted at seven in summer, at eight in winter. Two 
small cups of tea and three or four cakes of Indian meal 
(called hoe cakes) formed his frugal repast. Immediately 
after breakfast he mounted his horse and visited those parts 
of the estate where any work was going on, seeing to every- 
thing with his own eyes, and often aiding with his own 

Dinner was served at two o'clock. He ate heartily, but 
was no epicure, nor critical about his food. His beverage 
was small beer or cider, and two glasses of old Madeira. He 
took tea, of which he was very fond, early in the evening, 
and retired for the night about nine o'clock. 

If confined to the house by bad weather, he took that 
occasion to arrange his papers, post up his accounts, or write 
letters ; passing part of the time in reading, and occasionally 
reading aloud to the family. 

He treated his negroes with kindness ; attended to their 
comforts ; was particularly careful of them in sickness ; but 

from London to Virginia may be in Rappahannock or any 
of the other rivers three months before I know anything of 
their arrival, and may make twenty voyages without my 
seeing or even hearing of the captain." 

* Speech of the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop on laying the 
corner-stone of Washington's Monument. 

308 ll/or^s of U/asl?ii}$tor) Iruii}$ 

never tolerated idleness, and exacted a faithful performance 
of all their allotted tasks. He had a quick eye at calculating 
each man's capabilities. An entry in his diary gives a curi- 
ous instance of this. Four of his negroes, employed as car- 
penters, were hewing and shaping timber. It appeared to 
him, in noticing the amount of work accomplished between 
two succeeding mornings, that they loitered at their labor. 
Sitting down quietly, he timed their operations; how long 
it took them to get their cross-cut saw and other implements 
ready ; how long to clear away the branches from the trunk 
of a fallen tree ; how long to hew and saw it ; what time was 
expended in considering and consulting, and after all, how 
much work was effected during the time he looked on. 
From this he made his computation how much they could 
execute in the course of a day, working entirely at their 

At another time we find him working for a part of two 
days with Peter, his smith, to make a plow on a new inven- 
tion of his own. This, after two or three failures, he accom- 
plished. Then, with less than his usual judgment, he put 
his two chariot horses to the plow, and ran a great risk of 
spoiling them, in giving his new invention a trial over ground 
thickly swarded. 

Anon, during a thunderstorm, a frightened negro alarms 
the house with word that the mill is giving way, upon which 
there is a general turn out of all the forces, with Washington 
at their head, wheeling and shoveling gravel during a pelting 
rain, to check the rushing water. 

Washington delighted in the chase. In the hunting sea- 
son, when he rode out early in the morning to visit distant 
parts of the estate, where work was going on, he often took 
some of the dogs with him for the chance of starting a fox, 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$t09 309 

which he occasionally did, though he was not always suc- 
cessful in killing him. He was a bold rider and an admir- 
able horseman, though he never claimed the merit of being 
an accomplished fox-hunter. In the height of the season, 
however, he would be out with the fox-hounds two or three 
times a week, accompanied by his guests at Mount Vernon 
and the gentlemen of the neighborhood, especially the Fair- 
faxes of Bel voir, of which estate his friend George William 
Fairfax was now the proprietor. On such occasions there 
would be a hunting dinner at one or other of those establish- 
ments, at which convivial repasts Washington is said to have 
enjoyed himself with unwonted hilarity. 

Now and then his old friend and instructor in the noble 
art of venery, Lord Fairfax, would be on a visit to his rela- 
tives at Belvoir, and then the hunting was kept up with 
unusual spirit.* 

His lordship, however, since the alarms of Indian war 
had ceased, lived almost entirely at Green way Court, where 
Washington was occasionally a guest, when called by public 
business to Winchester. Lord Fairfax had made himself 
a favorite throughout the neighborhood. As lord-lieutenant 
and custos rotulorum of Frederick County, he presided at 

* Hunting memoranada from Washington's journal, 
Mount Vernon. 

Nov. 22. — Hunting with Lord Fairfax and his brother, 
and Colonel Fairfax. 

Nov. 25. — Mr. Bryan Fairfax, Mr. Grayson, and Phil. 
Alexander came here by sunrise. Hunted and catched a fox 
with these, Lord Fairfax, his brother, and Col. Fairfax — all 
of whom, with Mr. Fairfax and Mr. Wilson of England, 
dined here. 26th and 29th. — Hunted again with the same 

Dec. 5. — Fox-hunting with Lord Fairfax and his brother, 
and Colonel Fairfax. Started a fox and lost it. Dined at 
Belvoir, and returned in the evening. 

810 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii}$top Iruii)$ 

county courts held at "Winchester, where, during the sessions, 
he kept open table. He acted also as surveyor and overseer 
of the public roads and highways, and was unremitting in 
his exertions and plans for the improvement of the country. 
Hunting, however, was his passion. When the sport was 
poor near home, he would take his hounds to a distant part 
of the country, establish himself at an inn, and keep open 
house and open table to every person of good character and 
respectable appearance who chose to join him in following 
the hounds. 

It was probably in quest of sport of the kind that he now 
and then, in the hunting season, revisited his old haunts and 
former companions on the banks of the Potomac, and then 
the beautiful woodland region about Belvoir and Mount 
Vernon was sure to ring at early morn with the inspiring 
music of the hound. 

The waters of the Potomac also afforded occasional amuse- 
ment in fishing and shooting. The fishing was sometimes 
on a grand scale when the herrings came up the river in 
shoals, and the negroes of Mount Vernon were marshaled 
forth to draw the seine, which was generally done with great 
success. Canvas-back ducks abounded at the proper season, 
and the shooting of them was one of Washington's favorite 
recreations. The river border of his domain, however, was 
somewhat subject to invasion. An oysterman once anchored 
his craft at the landing-place, and disturbed the quiet of the 
neighborhood by the insolent and disorderly conduct of him- 
self and crew. It took a campaign of three days to expel 
these invaders from the premises. 

A more summary course was pursued with another inter- 
loper. This was a vagabond who infested the creeks and 
inlets which bordered the estate, lurking in a canoe among 

Cife of U/asl?iQ^toi> 311 

the reeds and bushes, and making great havoc among the 
canvas-back ducks. He had been warned off repeatedly, 
but without effect. As Washington was one day riding 
about the estate, he heard the report of a gun from the 
margin of the river. Spurring in that direction he dashed 
through the bushes, and came upon the culprit just as he 
was pushing his canoe from shore. The latter raised his gun 
with a menacing look ; but Washington rode into the stream, 
seized the painter of the canoe, drew it to shore, sprang from 
his horse, wrested the gun from the hands of the astonished 
delinquent, and inflicted on him a lesson in "Lynch law" 
that effectually cured him of all inclination to trespass again 
on these forbidden shores. 

The Potomac, in the palmy days of Virginia, was occa- 
sionally the scene of a little aquatic state and ostentation 
among the rich planters who resided on its banks. They had 
beautiful barges, which, like their land equipages, were im- 
ported from England ; and mention is made of a Mr. Digges 
who always received Washington in his barge, rowed by six 
negroes, arrayed in a kind of uniform of check shirts and 
black velvet caps. At one time, according to notes in Wash- 
ington's diary, the whole neighborhood is thrown into a 
paroxysm of festivity by the anchoring of a British frigate 
(the "Boston") in the river, just in front of the hospitable 
mansion of the Fairfaxes. A succession of dinners and 
breakfasts takes place at Mount Vernon and Bel voir, with 
occasional tea parties on board of the frigate. The com- 
mander, Sir Thomas Adams, his officers and his midshipmen 
are cherished guests, and have the freedom of both establish- 

Occasionally he and Mrs. Washington would pay a visit 
to Annapolis, at that time the seat of government of Mary- 

312 U/or^8 of \JJa&\)iT)$tOT) Iruip^ 

land, and partake of the gayeties which prevailed during the 
session of the Legislature. The society of these seats of pro- 
vincial governments was always polite and fashionable, and 
more exclusive than in these republican days, being, in a 
manner, the outposts of the English aristocracy, where all 
places of dignity or profit were secured for younger sons, and 
poor, but proud relatives. During the session of the Leg- 
islature, dinners and balls abounded, and there were occa- 
sional attempts at theatricals. The latter was an amusement 
for which Washington always had a relish, though he never 
had an opportunity of gratifying it effectually. Neither was 
he disinclined to mingle in the dance, and we remember to 
have heard venerable ladies, who had been belles in his day, 
pride themselves on having had him for a partner, though, 
they added, he was apt to be a ceremonious and grave one.* 
In this round of rural occupation, rural amusements, and 
social intercourse, Washington passed several tranquil years, 
the halcyon season of his life. His already established repu- 
tation drew many visitors to Mount Vernon; some of his 
early companions in arms were his occasional guests, and 
his friendships and connections linked him with some of the 
most prominent and worthy people of the country, who were 

* We have had an amusing picture of Annapolis, as it 
was at this period, furnished to us some years ago by an 
octogenarian who had resided there in his boyhood. "In 
those parts of the country," said he, "where the roads were 
too rough for carriages, the ladies used to ride on ponies, 
followed by black servants on horseback; in this way his 
mother, then advanced in life, used to travel, in a scarlet 
cloth riding habit, which she had procured from England. 
Nay, in this way, on emergencies," he added, "the young 
ladies from the country used to come to the balls at Annap- 
olis, riding with their hoops arranged 'fore and aft' like 
lateen sails ; and after dancing all night, would ride home 
again in the morning. ' ' 

Cife of \I/asI?ii}<$toi) 313 

sure to be received with cordial, but simple and unpretend- 
ing, hospitality. His marriage was unblessed with children ; 
but those of Mrs. Washington experienced from him parental 
care and affection, and the formation of their minds and 
manners was one of the dearest objects of hi^ attention. His 
domestic concerns and social enjoyments, however, were not 
permitted to interfere with his public duties. He was active 
by nature, and eminently a man of business by habit. As 
judge of the county court, and member of the House of 
Burgesses, he had numerous calls upon his time and 
thoughts, and was often drawn from home; for whatever 
trust he undertook he was sure to fulfill with scrupulous 

About this time we find him engaged, with other men of 
enterprise, in a project to drain the great Dismal Swamp, 
and render it capable of cultivation. This vast morass was 
about thirty miles long, and ten miles wide, and its interior 
but little known. With his usual zeal and hardihood he 
explored it on horseback and on foot. In many parts it was 
covered with dark and gloomy woods of cedar, cypress, and 
hemlock, or deciduous trees, the branches of which were 
hung with long drooping moss. Other parts were almost 
inaccessible, from the density of brakes and thickets, en- 
tangled with vines, briers, and creeping plants, and inter- 
sected by creeks and standing pools. Occasionally the soil, 
composed of dead vegetable fiber, was over his horse's fet- 
locks, and sometimes he had to dismount and make his way 
on foot over a quaking bog that shook beneath his tread. 

In the center of the morass he came to a great piece of 

water, six miles long and three broad, called Drummond's 

Pond, but more poetically celebrated as the Lake of the 

Dismal Swamp. It was more elevated than any other part 

* * * K— Vol. XII. 

314 U/or^g of WastyvQtOT) IrviQ$ 

of the swamp, and capable of feeding canals, by which the 
whole might be traversed. Having made the circuit of it, 
and noted all its characteristics, he encamped for the night 
upon the firm land which bordered it, and finished his ex- 
plorations on the following day. 

In the ensuing session of the Virginia Legislature, the 
association in behalf of which he had acted was chartered 
under the name of the Dismal Swamp Company; and to his 
observations and forecast may be traced the subsequent im- 
provement and prosperity of that once desolate region. 


Treaty of Peace — Pontiac's War — Course of Public Events — Board 
of Trade against Paper Currency — Restrictive Policy of Eng- 
land — Navigation Laws — Discontents in New England — Of the 
other Colonies — Projects to raise Revenue by Taxation — Blow 
at the Independence of the Judiciary — Naval Commanders em- 
ployed as Custom-house Officers — Retaliation of the Colonists — 
Taxation resisted in Boston — Passing of the. Stamp Act — Burst 
of Opposition in Virginia — Speech of Patrick Henry 

Tidings of peace gladdened the colonies in the spring of 
1763. The definitive treaty between England and France 
had been signed at Fontainebleau. Now, it was trusted, 
there would be an end to those horrid ravages that had deso- 
lated the interior of the country. "The desert and the silent 
place would rejoice, and the wilderness would blossom like 
the rose." 

The month of May proved the fallacy of such hopes. In 
that month the famous insurrection of the Indian tribes broke 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$toi) 315 

out, which, from the name of the chief who was its prime 
mover and master spirit, is commonly called Pontiac's war. 
The Delawares and Shawnees, and other of those emigrant 
tribes of the Ohio, among whom Washington had mingled, 
were foremost in this conspiracy. Some of the chiefs who 
had been his allies had now taken up the hatchet against 
the English. The plot was deep laid, and conducted with 
Indian craft and secrecy. At a concerted time an attack 
was made upon all the posts from Detroit to Fort Pitt (late 
Fort Duquesne). Several of the small stockaded forts, the 
places of refuge of woodland neighborhoods, were surprised 
and sacked with remorseless butchery. The frontiers of 
Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia were laid waste ; trad- 
ers in the wilderness were plundered and slain; hamlets 
and farmhouses were wrapped in flames, and their inhabi- 
tants massacred. Shingis, with his Delaware warriors, 
blockaded Fort Pitt, which, for some time, was in imminent 
danger. Detroit, also, came near falling into the hands of 
the savages. It needed all the influence of Sir William 
Johnson, that potentate in savage life, to keep the Six Na- 
tions from joining this formidable conspiracy; had they 
done so, the triumph of the tomahawk and scalping-knife 
would have been complete; as it was, a considerable time 
elapsed before the frontier was restored to tolerable tran- 

Fortunately, Washington's retirement from the army 
prevented his being entangled in this savage war, which 
raged throughout the regions he had repeatedly visited, or 
rather his active spirit had been diverted into a more 
peaceful channel, for he was at this time occupied in 
the enterprise just noticed, for draining the great Dismal 

316 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irving 

Public events were now taking a tendency which, with- 
out any political aspiration or forethought of his own, was 
destined gradually to bear him away from his quiet home 
and individual pursuits, and launch him upon a grander and 
wider sphere of action than any in which he had hitherto 
been engaged. 

The prediction of the Count de Vergennes was in the 
process of fulfillment. The recent war of Great Britain 
for dominion in America, though crowned with success, had 
engendered a progeny of discontents in her colonies. Wash- 
ington was among the first to perceive its bitter fruits. Brit- 
ish merchants had complained loudly of losses sustained by 
the depreciation of the colonial paper, issued during the late 
war, in times of emergency, and had addressed a memorial 
on the subject to the Board of Trade. Scarce was peace 
concluded, when an order from the board declared that no 
paper, issued by colonial Assemblies, should thenceforward 
be a legal tender in the payment of debts. Washington 
deprecated this "stir of the merchants" as peculiarly ill- 
timed; and expressed an apprehension that the order in 
question "would set the whole country in flames.'' 

We do not profess, in this personal memoir, to enter into 
a wide scope of general history, but shall content ourselves 
with a glance at the circumstances and events which grad- 
ually kindled the conflagration thus apprehended by the 
anxious mind of Washington. 

Whatever might be the natural affection of the colonies 
for the mother country — and there are abundant evidences 
to prove that it was deep-rooted and strong — it had never 
been properly reciprocated. They yearned to be considered 
as children ; they were treated by her as changelings. Burke 
testifies that her policy toward them from the beginning had 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi} 317 

been purely commercial, and her commercial policy wholly 
restrictive. "It was the system of a monopoly." 

Her navigation laws had shut their ports against foreign 
vessels; obliged them to export their productions only to 
countries belonging to the British crown; to import Eu- 
ropean goods solely from England, and in English ships; 
and had subjected the trade between the colonies to duties. 
All manufactures, too, in the colonies, that might interfere 
with those of the mother country, had been either totally 
prohibited, or subjected to intolerable restraints. 

The acts of Parliament, imposing these prohibitions and 
restrictions, had at various times produced sore discontent 
and opposition on the part of the colonies, especially among 
those of New England. The interests of these last were 
chiefly commercial, and among them the republican spirit 
predominated. They had sprung into existence during that 
part of the reign of James I. when disputes ran high about 
kingly prerogative and popular privilege. 

The Pilgrims, as they styled themselves, who founded 
Plymouth Colony in 1620, had been incensed while in Eng- 
land by what they stigmatized as the oppressions of the 
monarchy and the established church. They had sought the 
wilds of America for the indulgence of freedom of opinion, 
and had brought with them the spirit of independence and 
self-government. Those who followed them in the reign of 
Charles I. were imbued with the same spirit, and gave a 
lasting character to the people of New England. 

Other colonies, having been formed under other circum- 
stances, might be inclined toward a monarchial government, 
and disposed to acquiesce in its exactions ; but the republican 
spirit was ever alive in New England, watching over "nat- 
ural and chartered rights," and prompt to defend them 

318 U/orKs of U/asl?iQ^toi> Iruii)^ 

against any infringement. Its example and instigation had 
gradually an effect on the other colonies; a general impa- 
tience was evinced from time to time of parliamentary inter- 
ference in colonial affairs, and a disposition in the various 
provincial Legislatures to think and act for themselves in 
matters of civil and religious, as well as commercial, polity. 

There was nothing, however, to which the jealous sensi- 
bilities of the colonies were more alive than to any attempt 
of the mother country to draw a revenue from them by 
taxation. From the earliest period of their existence they 
had maintained the principle that they could only be taxed 
by a legislature in which they were represented. Sir Robert 
Walpole, when at the head of the British government, was 
aware of their jealous sensibility on this point, and cautious 
of provoking it. When American taxation was suggested, 
"It must be a bolder man than himself," he replied, "and 
one less friendly to commerce, who should venture on such 
an expedient. For his part, he would encourage the trade 
of the colonies to the utmost; one-half of the profits would 
be sure to come into the royal exchequer through the in- 
creased demand for British manufactures. This," said he, 
sagaciously, "is taxing them more agreeably to their oivn 
constitution and laws." 

Subsequent ministers adopted a widely different policy. 
During the progress of the French war, various projects 
were discussed in England with regard to the colonies, which 
were to be carried into effect on the return of peace. The 
open avowal of some of these plans, and vague rumors of 
others, more than ever irritated the jealous feelings of the 
colonists, and put the dragon spirit of New England on 
the alert. 

In 1760, there was an attempt in Boston to collect duties 

Cife of \l/as\)\T)QtoT) 319 

on foreign sugar and molasses imported into the colonies. 
Writs of assistance were applied for by the custom-house 
officers, authorizing them to break open ships, stores, and 
private dwellings, in quest of articles that had paid no duty ; 
and to call the assistance of others in the discharge of their 
odious task. The merchants opposed the execution of the 
writ on constitutional grounds. The question was argued in 
court, where James Otis spoke so eloquently in vindication 
of American rights that all his hearers went away ready 
to take arms against writs of assistance. "Then and there,' ' 
says John Adams, who was present, * ' was the first scene of 
opposition to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then 
and there American Independence was born." 

Another ministerial measure was to instruct the pro- 
vincial governors to commission judges. Not, as heretofore, 
"during good behavior," but "during the king's pleasure." 
New York was the first to resent this blow at the independ- 
ence of the judiciary. The lawyers appealed to the public 
through the press against an act which subjected the halls 
of justice to the prerogative. Their appeals were felt beyond 
the bounds of the province, and awakened a general spirit 
of resistance. 

Thus matters stood at the conclusion of the war. One 
of the first measures of ministers, on the return of peace, 
was to enjoin on all naval officers stationed on the coast of 
the American colonies the performance, under oath, of the 
duties of custom-house officers, for the suppression of smug- 
gling. This fell ruinously upon a clandestine trade which 
had long been connived at between the English and Spanish 
colonies, profitable to both, but especially to the former, and 
beneficial to the mother country, opening a market to her 

820 U/orl^s of U7asl?ii)<$ton In/io©; 

"Men of -war," says Burke, "were for the first time 
armed with the regular commissions of custom-house officers, 
invested the coasts, and gave the collection of revenue the 
air of hostile contribution They fell so indiscrimi- 
nately on all sorts of contraband, or supposed contraband, 
that some of the most valuable branches of trade were driven 
violently from our ports, which caused a universal conster- 
nation throughout the colonies." * 

As a measure of retaliation, the colonists resolved not to 
purchase British fabrics, but to clothe themselves as much 
as possible in home manufactures. The demand for British 
goods in Boston alone was diminished upward of £10,000 
sterling in the course of a year. 

In 1764, George Grenville, now at the head of govern- 
ment, ventured upon the policy from which Walpole had so 
wisely abstained. Early in March the eventful question was 
debated, "whether they had a right to tax America." It 
was decided in the affirmative. Next followed a resolution, 
declaring it proper to charge certain stamp duties in the 
colonies and plantations, but no immediate step was taken 
to carry it into effect. Mr. Grenville, however, gave notice 
to the American agents in London, that he should introduce 
such a measure on the ensuing session of Parliament. In 
the meantime Parliament perpetuated certain duties on sugar 
and molasses — heretofore subjects of complaint and opposi- 
tion — now reduced and modified so as to discourage smug- 
gling, and thereby to render them more productive. Duties, 
also, were imposed on other articles of foreign produce or 
manufacture imported into the colonies. To reconcile the 
latter to these impositions, it was stated that the revenue 

* Burke on the State of the Nation. 

Cife of U/asl?in<$toi) 321 

thus raised was to be appropriated to theii protection and 
security ; in other words, to the support of a standing army, 
intended to be quartered upon them. 

We have here briefly stated but a part of what Burke 
terms "an infinite variety of paper chains," extending 
through no less than twenty- nine acts of Parliament from 
1660 to 1764, by which the colonies had been held in thrall- 

The New Englanders were the first to take the field 
against the project of taxation. They denounced it as a 
violation of their rights as freemen ; of their chartered rights, 
by which they were to tax themselves for their support and 
defense; of their rights as British subjects, who ought not 
to be taxed but by themselves or their representatives. They 
sent petitions and remonstrances on the subject to the king, 
the lords, and the commons, in which they were seconded 
by New York and Virginia. Franklin appeared in London 
at the head of agents from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and 
South Carolina, to deprecate, in person, measures so fraught 
with mischief. The most eloquent arguments were used by 
British orators and statesmen to dissuade Grenville from 
enforcing them. He was warned of the sturdy independ- 
ence of the colonists, and the spirit of resistance he might 
provoke. All was in vain. Grenville, "great in daring 
and little in views," says Horace Walpole, "was charmed 
to have an untrodden field before him of calculation and 
experiment." In March, 1765, the act was passed, accord- 
ing to which all instruments in writing were to be executed 
on stamped paper, to be purchased from the agents of the 
British government. What was more : all offenses against 
the act could be tried in any royal, marine or admiralty court 
throughout the colonies, however distant from the place 

322 ll/or^s of U/asl?ii>$toi) Iruii)$ 

where the offense had been committed ; thus interfering with 
that most inestimable right, a trial by jury. 

It was an ominous sign that the first burst of opposition 
to this act should take place in Virginia. That colony had 
hitherto been slow to accord with the republican spirit of 
New England. Founded at an earlier period of the reign 
of James I., before kingly prerogative and ecclesiastical 
supremacy had been made matters of doubt and fierce dis- 
pute, it had grown up in loyal attachment to king, church 
and constitution; was aristocratical in its tastes and habits, 
and had been remarked above all the other colonies for its 
sympathies with the mother country. Moreover, it had not 
so many pecuniary interests involved in these questions as 
had the people of New England, being an agricultural rather 
than a commercial province; but the Virginians are of a 
quick and generous spirit, readily aroused on all points of 
honorable pride, and they resented the stamp act as an out- 
rage on their rights. 

Washington occupied his seat in the House of Burgesses 
when, on the 29th of May, the stamp act became a subject 
of discussion. We have seen no previous opinions of his on 
the subject. His correspondence hitherto had not turned 
on political or speculative themes; being engrossed by either 
military or agricultural matters, and evincing little anticipa- 
tion of the vortex of public duties into which he was about 
to be drawn. All his previous conduct and writings show 
a loyal devotion to the crown, with a patriotic attachment 
to his country. It is probable that on the present occasion 
that latent patriotism received its first electric shock. 

Among the Burgesses sat Patrick Henry, a young law- 
yer, who had recently distinguished himself by pleading 
against the exercise of the royal prerogative in church mat- 

Cife of Was\)iT)$toT) 323 

ters, and who was now for the first time a member of the 
House. Rising in his place, he introduced his celebrated 
resolutions, declaring that the General Assembly of Virginia 
had the exclusive right and power to lay taxes and imposi- 
tions upon the inhabitants, and that whoever maintained the 
contrary should be deemed an enemy to the colony. 

The speaker, Mr. Robinson, objected to the resolutions 
as inflammatory. Henry vindicated them, as justified by 
the nature of the case ; went into an able and constitutional 
discussion of colonial rights, and an eloquent exposition of 
the manner in which they had been assailed ; wound up by 
one of those daring flights of declamation for which he was 
remarkable, and startled the House by a warning flash from 
history: "Caesar had his Brutus; Charles his Cromwell, and 
George the Third*— ('Treason! treason!' resounded from the 
neighborhood of the Chair) — may profit by their examples," 
added Henry. "Sir, if this be treason (bowing to the 
speaker), make the most of it!" 

The resolutions were modified, to accommodate them to 
the scruples of the speaker and some of the members, but 
their spirit was retained. The lieutenant-governor (Fau- 
quier), startled by this patriotic outbreak, dissolved the As- 
sembly, and issued writs for a new election ; but the clarion 
had sounded. "The resolves of the Assembly of Virginia," 
says a correspondent of the ministry, "gave the signal for a 
general outcry over the continent. The movers and sup- 
porters of them were applauded as the protectors and as- 
sertors of American liberty." * 

* Letter to Secretary Conway, New York, Sept. 23. — 
Parliamentary Register. 

324 U/orKs of U/asl?iQ<$toQ Irving 


Washington's Ideas concerning the Stamp Act — Opposition to it in 
the Colonies — Portentous Ceremonials at Boston and New York 
— Non-importation Agreement among the Merchants — Wash- 
ington and George Mason — Dismissal of Grenville from the 
British Cabinet — Franklin before the House of Commons — Re- 
peal of the Stamp Act — Joy of Washington — Fresh Causes of 
Colonial Dissensions — Circular of the General Court of Massa- 
chusetts — Embarkation of Troops for Boston — Measures of the 

Washington returned to Mount Vernon full of anxious 
thoughts inspired by the political events of the day and the 
legislative scene which he witnessed. His recent letters had 
spoken of the state of peaceful tranquillity in which he was 
living; those now written from his rural home show that he 
fully participated in the popular feeling, and that while he 
had a presentiment of an arduous struggle, his patriotic 
mind was revolving means of coping with it. Such is the 
tenor of a letter written to his wife's uncle, Francis Dand- 
ridge, then in London. "The stamp act," said he, "en- 
grosses the conversation ot the speculative part of the colo- 
nists, who look upon this unconstitutional method of taxation 
as a direful attack upon their liberties, and loudly exclaim 
against the violation. What may be the result of this, and 
of some other (I think I may add ill-judged) measures, I 
will not undertake to determine ; but this I may venture to 

rm, that the advantage accruing to the mother country 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)$toi) 325 

will fall greatly short of the expectation of the ministry; 
for certain it is that our whole substance already in a man- 
ner flows to Great Britain, and that whatsoever contributes 
to lessen our importations must be hurtful to her manufact- 
urers. The eyes of our people already begin to be opened; 
and they will perceive that many luxuries, for which we 
lavish our substance in Great Britain, can well be dispensed 
with. This, consequently, will introduce frugality, and be 

a necessary incitement to industry As to the 

stamp act, regarded in a single view, one of the first bad 
consequences attending it is, that our courts of judicature 
must inevitably be shut up; for it is impossible, or next to 
impossible, under our present circumstances, that the act 
of Parliament can be complied with, were we ever so willing 
to enforce its execution. And not to say (which alone would 
be sufficient) that we have not money enough to pay for the 
stamps, there are many other cogent reasons which prove 
that it would be ineffectual." 

A letter of the same date to his agents in London, of 
ample length and minute in all its details, shows that, while 
deeply interested in the course of public affairs, his practical 
mind was enabled thoroughly and ably to manage the finan- 
cial concerns of his estate and of the estate of Mrs. Washing- 
ton's son, John Parke Custis, toward whom he acted the 
part of a faithful and affectionate guardian. In those days, 
Virginia planters were still in direct and frequent corre- 
spondence with their London factors; and Washington's let- 
ters respecting his shipments of tobacco, and the returns 
required in various articles for household and personal use, 
are perfect models for a man of business. And this may be 
remarked throughout his whole career, that no pressure of 
events nor multiplicity of cares prevented a clear, steadfast, 

326 U/orKs of U/a8l?ip^tor> Iruir><$ 

under- current of attention to domestic affairs, and the interest 
and well-being of all dependent upon him. 

In the meantime, from his quiet abode at Mount Vernon, 
he seemed to hear the patriotic voice of Patrick Henry, which 
had startled the House of Burgesses, echoing throughout the 
land, and rousing one legislative body after another to follow 
the example of that of Virginia. At the instigation of the 
General Court or Assembly of Massachusetts, a Congress 
was held in New York in October, composed of delegates 
from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and South 
Carolina. In this they denounced the acts of Parliament 
imposing taxes on them without their consent, and ex- 
tending the jurisdiction of the courts of admiralty, as 
violations of their rights and liberties as natural born sub- 
jects of Great Britain, and prepared an address to the king, 
and a petition to both Houses of Parliament, praying for 
redress. Similar petitions were forwarded to England by 
the colonies not represented in the Congress. 

The very preparations for enforcing the stamp act called 
forth popular tumults in various places. In Boston the 
stamp distributer was hanged in effigy ; his windows were 
broken ; a house intended for a stamp office was pulled down, 
and the effigy burned in a bonfire made of the fragments. 
The lieutenant-governor, chief -justice, and sheriff, attempt- 
ing to allay the tumult, were pelted. The stamp officer 
thought himself happy to be hanged merely in e&igy, and 
next day publicly renounced the perilous office. 

Various were the proceedings in other places, all mani- 
festing public scorn and defiance of the act. In Virginia 
Mr. George Mercer had been appointed distributer of stamps, 
but on his arrival at Williamsburg publicly declined officiat- 

Cife of U/asi?ir><$t09 327 

ing. It was a fresh triumph to the popular cause. The 
bells were rung for joy; the town was illuminated, and 
Mercer was hailed with acclamations of the people.* 

The 1st of November, the day when the act was to go 
into operation, was ushered in with portentous solemnities. 
There was great tolling of bells and burning of effigies in the 
New England colonies. At Boston the ships displayed their 
colors but half-mast high. Many shops were shut; funeral 
knells resounded from the steeples, and there was a grand 
auto-da-fe, in which the promoters of the act were paraded 
and suffered martyrdom in effigy. 

At New York the printed act was carried about the 
streets on a pole, surmounted by a death's head, with a 
scroll bearing the inscription, "The folly of England and 
ruin of America." Colden, the lieutenant-governor, who 
acquired considerable odium by recommending to govern- 
ment the taxation of the colonies, the institution of heredi- 
tary Assemblies, and other Tory measures, seeing that a 
popular storm was rising, retired into the fort, taking with 
him the stamp papers, and garrisoned it with marines from 
a ship of war. The mob broke into his stable ; drew out his 
chariot ; put his effigy into it ; paraded it through the streets 
to the common (now the Park), where they hung it on a gal- 
lows. In the evening it was taken down, put again in the 
chariot, with the devil for a companion, and escorted back 
by torchlight to the Bowling Green; where the whole pag- 
eant, chariot and all, was burned under the very guns of 
the fort. 

These are specimens of the marks of popular reprobation 
with which the stamp act was universally nullified. No one 

* Holmes's Annals, vol. ii., p. 138. 

328 U/orKs of U/asl^ip^top Irvip$ 

would venture to carry it into execution. In fact, no 
stamped paper was to be seen; all had been either de- 
stroyed or concealed. All transactions which required 
stamps to give them validity were suspended, or were exe- 
cuted by private compact. The courts of justice were closed, 
until at length some conducted their business without stamps. 
Union was becoming the watchword. The merchants of 
New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and such other colonies 
as had ventured publicly to oppose the stamp act, agreed to 
import no more British manufactures after the 1st of Janu- 
ary, unless it should be repealed. So passed away the year 

As yet Washington took no prominent part in the public 
agitation. Indeed, he was never disposed to put himself for- 
ward on popular occasions — his innate modesty forbade it ; it 
was others who knew his worth that called him forth; but 
when once he engaged in any public measure, he devoted 
himself to it with conscientiousness and persevering zeal. 
At present he remained a quiet but vigilant observer of 
events from his eagle nest at Mount Vernon. He had some 
few intimates in his neighborhood who accorded with him 
in sentiment. One of the ablest and most efficient of these 
was Mr. George Mason, with whom he had occasional con* 
versations on the state of affairs. His friends the Fairfaxes, 
though liberal in feelings and opinions, were too strong in 
their devotion to the crown not to regard with an uneasy 
eye the tendency of the popular bias. From one motive or 
other, the earnest attention of all the inmates and visitors at 
Mount Vernon was turned to England, watching the move- 
ments of the ministry. 

The dismissal of Mr. Grenville from the cabinet gave a 
temporary change to public affairs. Perhaps nothing had 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi) 329 

a greater effect in favor of the colonies than an examination 
of Dr. Franklin before the House of Commons, on the sub- 
ject of the stamp act. 

"What," he was asked, "was the temper of America 
toward Great Britain, before the year 1763?" 

"The best in the world. They submitted willingly to the 
government of the crown, and paid, in all their courts, obedi- 
ence to the acts of Parliament. Numerous as the people are 
in the several old provinces, they cost you nothing in forts, 
citadels, garrisons, or armies to keep them in subjection. 
They were governed by this country at the expense only of 
a little pen, ink, and paper. They were led by a thread. 
They had not only a respect, but an affection, for Great 
Britain, for its laws, its customs, and manners, and even a 
fondness for its fashions, that greatly increased the com- 
merce. Natives of Great Britain were always treated 
with particular regard; to be an Old-England man was, 
of itself, a character of some respect, and gave a kind of 
rank among us." 

"And what is their temper now?" 

"Oh! very much altered." 

"If the act is not repealed, what do you think will be the 

"A total loss of the respect and affection the people of 
America bear to this country, and of all the commerce that 
depends on that respect and affection." 

"Do you think the people of America would submit to 
pay the stamp duty if it was moderated?" 

"No, never; unless compelled by force of arms." * 

The act was repealed on the 18th of March, 1766, to the 

* Parliamentary Register, 1766. 

830 U/or^s of U/as^ip^tor> Irvii><$ 

great joy of the sincere friends of both countries, and to no 
one more than to Washington. In one of his letters he ob- 
serves: "Had the Parliament of Great Britain resolved upon 
enforcing it, the consequences, I conceive, would have been 
more direful than is generally apprehended, both to the 
mother country and her colonies. All, therefore, who were 
instrumental in procuring the repeal, are entitled to the 
thanks of every British subject, and have mine cor- 
dially. ,, * 

Still there was a fatal clause in the repeal, which declared 
that the king, with the consent of Parliament, had power 
and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force 
and validity to "bind the colonies and people of America in 
all cases whatsoever." 

As the people of America were contending for principles, 
not merely pecuniary interests, this reserved power of the 
crown and Parliament left the dispute still open, and chilled 
the feeling of gratitude which the repeal might otherwise 
have inspired. Further aliment for public discontent was 
furnished by other acts of Parliament. One imposed duties 
on glass, pasteboard, white and red lead, painters' colors 
and tea ; the duties to be collected on the arrival of the ar- 
ticles in the colonies ; another empowered naval officers to en- 
force the acts of trade and navigation. Another wounded 
to the quick the pride and sensibilities of New York. The 
mutiny act had recently been extended to America, with an 
additional clause, requiring the provincial Assemblies to pro- 
vide the troops sent out with quarters, and to furnish them 
with fire, beds, candles and other necessaries, at the expense 
of the colonies. The Governor and Assembly of New York 

* Sparks. Writings of Washington, ii. 345, note. 

Cife of U/asl?iQ$toi) 331 

refused to comply with this requisition as to stationary forces, 
insisting that it applied only to troops on a march. An act 
of Parliament now suspended the powers of the Governor 
and Assembly until they should comply. Chatham attrib- 
uted this opposition of the colonists to the mutiny act to 
" their jealousy of being somehow or other taxed internally 
by the Parliament; the act," said he, "asserting the right of 
Parliament, has certainly spread a most unfortunate jealousy 
and diffidence of government here throughout America, and 
makes them jealous of the least distinction between this 
country and that, lest the same principle may be extended 
to taxing them." * 

Boston continued to be the focus of what the ministerial- 
ists termed sedition. The General Court of Massachusetts, 
not content with petitioning the king for relief against the 
recent measures of Parliament, especially those imposing 
taxes as a means of revenue, drew up a circular, calling 
on the other colonial Legislatures to join with them in suit- 
able efforts to obtain redress. In the ensuing session, Gov- 
ernor Sir Francis Bernard called upon them to rescind the 
resolution on which the circular was founded — they refused 
to comply, and the General Court was consequently dis- 
solved. The governors of other colonies required of their 
Legislatures an assurance that they would, not reply to the 
Massachusetts circular — these Legislatures likewise refused 
compliance, and were dissolved. All this added to the grow- 
ing excitement. 

Memorials were addressed to the Lords, spiritual and 
temporal, and remonstrances to the House of Commons, 
against taxation for revenue, as destructive to the liberties 

* Chatham's Correspondence, vol. hi., pp. 189-192. 

332 U/orKs of U/asl?ii)$toi) In/ir?$ 

of the colonists; and against the act suspending the legisla- 
tive power of the province of New York, as menacing the 
welfare of the colonies in general. 

Nothing, however, produced a more powerful effect upon 
the public sensibilities throughout the country than certain 
military demonstrations at Boston. In consequence of re- 
peated collisions between the people of that place and the 
commissioners of customs, two regiments were held in readi- 
ness at Halifax to embark for Boston in the ships of Com- 
modore Hood whenever Governor Bernard, or the general, 
should give the word. "Had this force been landed in Bos- 
ton six months ago," writes the commodore, "I am perfectly 
persuaded no address or remonstrances would have been sent 
from the other colonies, and that all would have been toler- 
ably quiet and orderly at this time throughout America." * 

Tidings reached Boston that these troops were embarked, 
and that they were coming to overawe the people. What 
was to be done? The General Court had been dissolved, 
and the governor refused to convene it without the royal 
command. A convention, therefore, from various towns 
met at Boston on the 2 2d of September, to devise measures 
for the public safety ; but disclaiming all pretensions to legis- 
lative powers. While the convention was yet in session (Sep- 
tember 28th), the two regiments arrived, with seven armed 
vessels. "I am very confident," writes Commodore Hood, 
from Halifax, "the spirited measures now pursuing will soon 
effect order in America." 

On the contrary, these "spirited measures" added fuel to 
the fire they were intended to quench. It was resolved, in 
a town meeting, that the king had no right to send troops 

* Grenville's Papers, vol. iv., p. 362. 

Cife of U/asbip^toi) 383 

thither without the consent of the Assembly; that &reat 
Britain had broken the original compact, and that, therefore, 
the king's officers had no longer any business there.* 

The "selectmen" accordingly refused to find quarters for 
the soldiers in the town ; the council refused to find barracks 
for them, lest it should be construed into a compliance with 
the disputed clause of the mutiny act. Some of the troops, 
therefore, which had tents, were encamped on the common ; 
others, by the governor's orders, were quartered in the state- 
house, and others in Faneuil Hall, to the great indignation 
of the public, who were grievously scandalized at seeing 
field-pieces planted in front of the state-house; sentinels 
stationed at the doors, challenging every one who passed; 
and, above all, at having the sacred quiet of the Sabbath 
disturbed by drum and fife, and other military music. 


Cheerful Life at Mount Vernon — Washington and George Mason — 
Correspondence concerning the Non-importation Agreement — 
Feeling toward England — Opening of the Legislative Session 
— Semi-regal State of Lord Botetourt — High-toned Proceedings 
of the House — Sympathy with New England — Dissolved by 
Lord Botetourt — Washington and the Articles of Association 

Throughout these public agitations, Washington en- 
deavored to preserve his equanimity. Removed from the 
heated throngs of cities, his diary denotes a cheerful and 
healthful life at Mount Vernon, devoted to those rural occu- 
pations in which he delighted, and varied occasionally by his 

* Whately to Grenville. Gren. Papers, vol. iv., p. 389. 

334 U/orK» of Waz\>iT)$tOT) Iruir?$ 

favorite field sports. Sometimes be is duck-shooting on the 
Potomac. Repeatedly we find note of his being out at sun- 
rise with the hounds, in company with old Lord Fairfax, 
Bryan Fairfax, and others ; and ending the day's sport by a 
dinner at Mount Vernon or Belvoir. 

Still he was too true a patriot not to sympathize in the 
struggle for colonial rights which now agitated the whole 
country, and we find him gradually carried more and more 
into the current of political affairs. 

A letter written on the 5th of April, 1769, to his friend, 
George Mason, shows the important stand he was disposed 
to take. In the previous year, the merchants and traders of 
Boston, Salem, Connecticut, and New York, had agreed to 
suspend for a time the importation of all articles subject to 
taxation. Similar resolutions had recently been adopted by 
the merchants of Philadelphia. Washington's letter is em- 
phatic in support of the measure. "At a time," writes he, 
"when our lordly masters in Great Britain will be satisfied 
with nothing less than the deprivation of American freedom, 
it seems highly necessary that something should be done to 
avert the stroke, and maintain the liberty which we have 
derived from our ancestors. But the manner of doing it, to 
answer the purpose effectually, is the point in question. 
That no man should scruple, or hesitate a moment in de- 
fense of so valuable a blessing, is clearly my opinion ; yet 
arms should be the last resource— the dernier ressort. We 
have already, it is said, proved the inefficacy of addresses to 
the throne and remonstrances to Parliament. How far their 
attention to our rights and interests is to be awakened, or 
alarmed, by starving their trade and manufactures, remains 
to be tried. 

"The northern colonies, it appears, are endeavoring to 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$toi) 335 

adopt this scheme. In my opinion, it is a good one, and 
must be attended with salutary effects, provided it can be 
carried pretty generally into execution. . . . That there 
will be a difficulty attending it everywhere from clashing 
interests, and selfish, designing men, ever attentive to their 
own gain, and watchful of every turn that can assist their 
lucrative views, cannot be denied ; and in the tobacco colo- 
nies, where the trade is so diffused, and in a manner wholly 
conducted by factors for their principals at home, these diffi- 
culties are certainly enhanced, but I think not insurmount- 
ably increased, if the gentlemen in their several counties will 
be at some pains to explain matters to the people, and stimu- 
late them to cordial agreements to purchase none but certain 
enumerated articles out of any of the stores, after a definite 
period, and neither import nor purchase any themselves. 
. . . I can see but one class of people, the merchants ex- 
cepted, who will not or ought not to wish well to the scheme; 
namely, they who live genteelly and hospitably on clear 
estates. Such as these, were they not to consider the valu- 
able object in view, and the good of others, might think it 
hard to be curtailed in their living and enjoyments.' ' 

This was precisely the class to which Washington be- 
longed ; but he was ready and willing to make the sacrifices 
required. "I think the scheme a good one," added he, "and 
that it ought to be tried here, with such alterations as our 
circumstances render absolutely necessary. " 

Mason, in his reply, concurred with him in opinion. 
"Our all is at stake,' ' said he, "and the little conveniences 
and comforts of life, when set in competition with our lib- 
erty, ought to be rejected, not with reluctance, but with 
pleasure. Yet it is plain that, in the tobacco colonies, we 
cannot at present confine our importations within such nar- 

336 U/orKs of U/a»l?ii}$toi) Irvii)$ 

row bounds as the northern colonies. A plan of this Kind, 
to be practicable, must be adapted to our circumstances ; for 
if not steadily executed it had better have remained unat- 
tempted. "We may retrench all manner of superfluities, 
finery of all descriptions, and confine ourselves to linens, 
woolens, etc., not exceeding a certain price. It is amazing 
how much this practice, if adopted in all the colonies, would 
lessen the American imports, and distress the various trades 
and manufactures of Great Britain. This would awaken 
their attention. They would see, they would feel, the op- 
pressions we groan under, and exert themselves to procure 
us redress. This once obtained, we should no longer discon- 
tinue our importations, confining ourselves still not to import 
any article that should hereafter be taxed by act of Parlia- 
ment for raising a revenue in America; for, however singu- 
lar I may be in the opinion, I am thoroughly convinced 
that, justice and harmony happily restored, it is not the 
interest of these colonies to refuse British manufacture*. 
Our supplying our mother country with gross materials, 
and taking her manufactures in return, is the true chain 
of connection between us. These are the bands which, if 
not broken by oppression, must long hold us together, by 
maintaining a constant reciprocation of interests." 

The latter part of the above quotation shows the spirit 
which actuated Washington and the friends of his confi- 
dence ; as yet there was no thought nor desire of alienation 
from the mother country, but only a fixed determination to 
be placed on an equality of rights and privileges with her 
other children. 

A single word in the passage cited from "Washington's 
^etter evinces the chord which still vibrated in the American 
Nraom.; he incidentally speaks of England as home. It was 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi> 337 

the familiar term with which she was usually indicated by 
those of English descent ; and the writer of these pages re- 
members when the endearing phrase still lingered on Anglo- 
American lips even after the Revolution. How easy would 
it have been, before that era, for the mother country to have 
rallied back the affections of her colonial children, by a proper 
attention to their complaints! They asked for nothing but 
what they were entitled to, and what she had taught them 
to prize as their dearest inheritance. The spirit of liberty 
which they manifested had been derived from her own 
precept and example. 

The result of the correspondence between Washington 
and Mason was the draft by the latter of a plan of associa- 
tion, the members of which were to pledge themselves not to 
import or use any articles of British merchandise or manu- 
facture subject to duty. This paper Washington was to 
submit to the consideration of the House of Burgesses at 
the approaching session in the month of May. 

The Legislature of Virginia opened on this occasion with 
a brilliant pageant. While military force was arrayed to 
overawe the republican Puritans of the east, it was thought 
to dazzle the aristocratical descendants of the cavaliers by 
the reflex of regal splendor. Lord Botetourt, one of the 
king's lords of the bedchamber, had recently come out as 
governor of the province. Junius described him as "a cring- 
ing, bowing, fawning, sword-bearing courtier." Horace 
Walpole predicted that he would "turn the heads of the Vir- 
ginians in one way or other. "If his graces do not captivate 
them, he will enrage them to fury ; for I take all his doucer 
to be enameled on iron." * The words of political satirists 

* Grenville Papers, iv., note to p. 330. 

»**0~-Vol. XII. 

338 U/orl^s of U/as^ir>^tor> Irvlo$ 

and court wits, however, are always to be taken with great 
distrust. However his lordship may have bowed in presence 
of royalty, he elsewhere conducted himself with dignity, and 
won general favor by his endearing manners. He certainly 
showed promptness of spirit in his reply to the king on being 
informed of his appointment. "When will you be ready to 
go?" asked George III. "To-night, sir." 

He had come out, however, with a wrong idea of the 
Americans. They had been represented to him as factious, 
immoral, and prone to sedition ; but vain and luxurious, and 
easily captivated by parade and splendor. The latter foibles 
were aimed at in his appointment and fitting out. It was 
supposed that his titled rank would have its effect. Then to 
prepare him for occasions of ceremony, a coach of state was 
presented to him by the king. He was allowed, moreover, 
the quantity of plate usually given to embassadors, where- 
upon the joke was circulated that he was going "plenipo to 
the Cherokees." * 

His opening of the session was in the style of the royal 
opening of Parliament. He proceeded in due parade from 
his dwelling to the capitol, in his state coach, drawn by six 
milk white horses. Having delivered his speech according 
to royal form, he returned home with the same pomp and 

The time had gone by, however, for such display to have 
the anticipated effect. The Virginian legislators penetrated 
the intention of this pompous ceremonial, and regarded it 
with a depreciating smile. Sterner matters occupied their 
thoughts ; they had come prepared to battle for their rights, 
and their proceedings soon showed Lord Botetourt how much 

* Whately to Geo. Grenville. Grenville Papers. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$toi) 339 

he had mistaken them. Spirited resolutions were passed, 
denouncing the recent act of Parliament imposing taxes; the 
power to do which, on the inhabitants of this colony, "was 
legally and constitutionally vested in the House of Burgesses, 
with consent of the council and of the king, or of his gov- 
ernor, for the time being." Copies of these resolutions were 
ordered to be forwarded by the speaker to the Legislatures 
of the other colonies, with a request for their concurrence. 

Other proceedings of the Burgesses showed their sym- 
pathy with their fellow-patriots of New England. A joint 
address of both Houses of Parliament had recently been 
made to the king, assuring him of their support in any 
further measures for the due execution of the laws in Massa- 
chusetts, and beseeching him that all persons charged with 
treason, or misprision of treason, committed within that col- 
ony since the 30th of December, 1767, might be sent to Great 
Britain for trial. 

As Massachusetts had no General Assembly at this time, 
having been dissolved by government, the Legislature of 
Virginia generously took up the cause. An address to the 
king was resolved on, stating that all trials for treason, or 
misprision of treason, or for any crime whatever committed 
by any person residing in a colony, ought to be in and before 
his majesty's courts within said colony ; and beseeching the 
king to avert from his loyal subjects those dangers and mis- 
eries which would ensue from seizing and carrying beyond 
sea any person residing in America suspected of any crime 
whatever, thereby depriving them of the inestimable privi- 
lege of being tried by a jury from the vicinage, as well as 
the liberty of producing witnesses on such trial. 

Disdaining any further application to Parliament, the 
House ordered the speaker to transmit this address to the 

340 U/orKs of U/a8t?iQ<$toi) Irving 

colonies' agent in England, with directions to cause it to 
be presented to the king, and afterward to be printed and 
published in the English papers. 

Lord Botetourt was astonished and dismayed when he 
heard of these high-toned proceedings. Repairing to the 
capitol on the following day at noon, he summoned the 
speaker and members to the council chamber, and addressed 
them in the following words: "Mr. Speaker, and gentlemen 
of the House of Burgesses, I have heard of your resolves, 
and augur ill of their effects. You have made it my duty to 
dissolve you, and you are dissolved accordingly . ' ' 

The spirit conjured up by the late decrees of Parliament 
was not so easily allayed. The Burgesses adjourned to a 
private house. Peyton Randolph, their late speaker, was 
elected moderator. Washington now brought forward a 
draft of the articles of association, concerted between him 
and George Mason. They formed the groundwork of an 
instrument signed by all present, pledging themselves neither 
to import, nor use any goods, merchandise, or manufactures 
taxed by Parliament to raise a revenue in America. This 
instrument was sent throughout the country for signature, 
and the scheme of non-importation, hitherto confined to a 
few northern colonies, was soon universally adopted. For 
his own part, Washington adhered to it rigorously through- 
out the year. The articles proscribed by it were never to be 
seen in his house, and his agent in London was enjoined to 
ship nothing for him while subject to taxation. 

The popular ferment in Virginia was gradually allayed 
by the amiable and conciliatory conduct of Lord Botetourt. 
His lordship soon became aware of the erroneous notions 
with which he had entered upon office. His semi-royal equi- 
page and state were laid aside. He examined into public 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)$too 341 

grievances; became a strenuous advocate for the repeal of 
taxes ; and, authorized by his dispatches from the ministry, 
assured the public that such repeal would speedily take place. 
His assurance was received with implicit faith, and for a 
while Virginia was quieted. 


Hood at Boston—The General Court refuses to do Business under 
Military Sway—Resists the Billeting Act— Effect of the Non- 
importation Association — Lord North Premier — Duties revoked 
except on Tea— The Boston Massacre — Disuse of Tea — Concilia- 
tory Conduct of Botetourt — His Death 

"The worst is past, and the spirit of sedition broken," 
writes Hood to Grenville, early in the spring of 1769.* 
When the commodore wrote this, his ships were in the har- 
bor, and troops occupied the town, and he flattered himself 
that at length turbulent Boston was quelled. But it only 
waited its time to be seditious according to rule; there was 
always an irresistible "method in its madness." 

In the month of May, the General Court, hitherto pro- 
rogued, met according to charter. A committee immediately 
waited on the governor, stating it was impossible to do busi- 
ness with dignity and freedom while the town was invested 
by sea and land, and a military guard was stationed at the 
state-house, with cannon pointed at the door; and they re- 
quested the governor, as his majesty's representative, to 

* Grenville Papers, vol. iii. 

842 U/orKs of U/a8^ip^tor> Irvio<$ 

have such forces removed out of the port and gates of the 
city during the session of the Assembly. 

The governor replied that he had no authority over either 
the ships or troops. The court persisted in refusing to trans- 
act business while so circumstanced, and the governor was 
obliged to transfer the session to Cambridge. There he ad- 
dressed a message to that body in July, requiring funds for 
the payment of the troops and quarters for their accommoda- 
tion. The Assembly, after ample discussion of past griev- 
ances, resolved that the establishment of a standing army in 
the colony in a time of peace was an invasion of natural 
rights; that a standing army was not known as a part of the 
British constitution, and that the sending an armed force to 
aid the civil authority was unprecedented and highly dan- 
gerous to the people. 

After waiting some days without receiving an answer to 
his message, the governor sent to know whether the Assem- 
bly would, or would not, make provision for the troops. In 
their reply, they followed the example of the Legislature of 
New York, in commenting on the mutiny, or billeting act, 
and ended by declining to furnish funds for the purposes 
specified, "being incompatible with their own honor and in- 
terest, and their duty to their constituents.' ' They were in 
consequence again prorogued, to meet in Boston on the 10th 
of January. 

So stood affairs in Massachusetts. In the meantime, 
the non-importation associations, being generally observed 
throughout the colonies, produced the effect on British com- 
merce which Washington had anticipated, and Parliament 
was incessantly importuned by petitions from British mer' 
chants, imploring its intervention to save them from ruin. 

Early in 1770, an important change took place in the 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$tor) 343 

British cabinet. The Duke of Grafton suddenly resigned, 
and the reins of government passed into the hands of Lord 
North. He was a man of limited capacity, but a favorite of 
the king and subservient to his narrow colonial policy. His 
administration, so eventful to America, commenced with an 
error. In the month of March an act was passed revoking 
all the duties laid in 1767, excepting that on tea. This sin- 
gle tax was continued, as he observed, "to maintain the Par- 
liamentary right of taxation" — the very right which was the 
grand object of contest. In this, however, he was in fact 
yielding, against his better judgment, to the stubborn tenac- 
ity of the king. 

He endeavored to reconcile the opposition, and perhaps 
himself, to the measure, by plausible reasoning. An impost 
of threepence on the pound could never, he alleged, be op- 
posed by the colonists, unless they were determined to rebel 
against Great Britain. Besides, a duty on that article, pay- 
able in England, and amounting to nearly one shilling on 
the pound, was taken off on its exportation to America, so 
that the inhabitants of the colonies saved ninepence on the 

Here was the stumbling-block at the threshold of Lord 
North's administration. In vain the members of the opposi- 
tion urged that this single exception, while it would produce 
no revenue, would keep alive the whole cause of contention; 
that so long as a single external duty was enforced the col- 
onies would consider their rights invaded and would remain 
unappeased. Lord North was not to be convinced ; or rather 
he knew the royal will was inflexible, and he complied with 
its behests. "The properest time to exert our right of taxa- 
tion," said he, "is when the right is refused. To temporize 
is to yield, and the authority of the mother country, if it 

844 U/orl^s of U/astyD^toi} Irving 

is now unsupported, will be relinquished forever: a total 
repeal cannot be thought of till America is prostrate at 
our feet."* 

On the very day in which this ominous bill was passed 
in Parliament, a sinister occurrence took place in Boston. 
Some of the young men of the place insulted the military 
while under arms ; the latter resented it ; the young men, 
after a scuffle, were put to flight and pursued. The alarm 
bells rang — a mob assembled ; the custom-house was threat- 
ened; the troops, in protecting it, were assailed with clubs 
and stones, and obliged to use their firearms before the tu- 
mult could be quelled. Four of the populace were killed 
and several wounded. The troops were now removed from 
the town, which remained in the highest state of exaspera- 
tion ; and this untoward occurrence received the opprobrious 
and somewhat extravagant name of "the Boston massacre." 

The colonists, as a matter of convenience, resumed the 
consumption of those articles on which the duties had been 
repealed; but continued, on principle, the rigorous disuse of 
tea, excepting such as had been smuggled in. New Eng- 
land was particularly earnest in the matter ; many of the in- 
habitants, in the spirit of their Puritan progenitors, made a 
covenant to drink no more of the forbidden beverage until 
the duty on tea should be repealed. 

In Virginia the public discontents, which had been al- 
layed by the conciliatory conduct of Lord Botetourt, and by 
his assurances, made on the strength of letters received from 
the ministry, that the grievances complained of would be 
speedily redressed, now broke out with more violence than 
ever. The Virginians spurned the mock remedy which left 

* Holmes's Amer. Annals, vol. ii., p. 173. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$tor) 345 

the real cause of complaint untouched. His lordship also 
felt deeply wounded by the disingenuousness of ministers 
which had led him into such a predicament, and wrote home 
demanding his discharge. Before it arrived, an attack of 
bilious fever, acting upon a delicate and sensitive frame, en- 
feebled by anxiety and chagrin, laid him in his grave. He 
left behind him a name endeared to the Virginians by his 
amiable manners, his liberal patronage of the arts, and, 
above all, by his zealous intercession for their rights. Wash- 
ington himself testifies that he was inclined "to render every 
just and reasonable service to the people whom he gov- 
erned." A statue to his memory was decreed by the House 
of Burgesses, to be erected in the area of the capitol. It 
is still to be seen, though in a mutilated condition, in Wil- 
liamsburg, the old seat of government, and a county in 
Virginia continues to bear his honored name. 


Expedition of Washington to the Ohio, in behalf of Soldiers' Claims 
— Uoeasy State of the Frontier — Visit to Fort Pitt — George 
Croghan — His Mishaps during Pontiac's War — Washington de- 
scends the Ohio — Scenes and Adventures along the River — In- 
dian Hunting Camp — Interview with an old Sachem at the 
Mouth of the Kanawha — Return — Claims of Stobo and Van 
Braam — Letter to Colonel George Muse 

In the midst of these popular turmoils, Washington was 
induced, by public as well as private considerations, to make 
another expedition to the Ohio. He was one of the Virginia 
Board of Commissioners appointed, at the close of the late 

346 U/or^s of U/asl?ir>^toi> Irvir;$ 

war, to settle the military accounts of the colony. Among 
the claims which came before the board were those of the 
officers and soldiers who had engaged to serve until peace, 
under the proclamation of Governor Dinwiddie, holding 
forth a bounty of two hundred thousand acres of land, to 
be apportioned among them according to rank. Those 
claims were yet unsatisfied, for governments, like individ- 
uals, are slow to pay off in peaceful times the debts incurred 
while in the fighting mood. Washington became the cham- 
pion of those claims, and an opportunity now presented itself 
for their liquidation. The Six Nations, by a treaty in 1768, 
had ceded to the British crown, in consideration of a sum of 
money, all the lands possessed by them south of the Ohio. 
Land offices would soon be opened for the sale of them. 
Squatters and speculators were already preparing to swarm 
in, set up their marks on the choicest spots, and establish 
what were called pre-emption rights. "Washington deter- 
mined at once to visit the lands thus ceded; affix his mark 
on such tracts as he should select, and apply for a grant 
from government in behalf of the "soldiers' claim." 

The expedition would be attended with some degree of 
danger. The frontier was yet in an uneasy state. It is 
true some time had elapsed since the war of Pontiac, but 
some of the Indian tribes were almost ready to resume the 
hatchet. The Delawares, Shawnees and Mingoes complained 
that the Six Nations had not given them their full share of 
the consideration money of the late sale, and they talked of 
exacting the deficiency from the white men who came to set- 
tle in what had been their hunting grounds. Traders, squat- 
ters and other adventurers into the wilderness were occasion- 
ally murdered, and further troubles were apprehended. 

Washington had for a companion in this expedition his 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$eoo 347 

friend and neighbor, Dr. Craik, and it was with strong com- 
munity of feeling they looked forward peaceably to revisit 
the scenes of their military experience. They set out on the 
5th of October, with three negro attendants, two belonging 
to Washington, and one to the doctor. The whole party 
was mounted, and there was a led horse for the baggage. 

After twelve days' traveling they arrived at Fort Pitt 
(late Fort Duquesne). It was garrisoned by two companies 
of royal Irish, commanded by a Captain Edmonson. A 
hamlet of about twenty log-houses, inhabited by Indian 
traders, had sprung up within three hundred yards of the 
fort, and was called "the town." It was the embryo city of 
Pittsburg, now so populous. At one of the houses, a toler- 
able frontier inn, they took up their quarters; but during 
their brief sojourn they were entertained with great hospi- 
tality at the fort. 

Here at dinner "Washington met his old acquaintance, 
George Croghan, who had figured in so many capacities, 
and experienced so many vicissitudes on the frontier. He 
was now Colonel Croghan, deputy- agent to Sir William 
Johnson, and had his residence — or seat, as Washington 
terms it— on the banks of the Alleghany River, about four 
miles from the fort. 

Croghan had experienced troubles and dangers during the 
Pontiac war, both from white man and savage. At one 
time, while he was convoying presents from Sir William to 
the Delawares and Shawnees, his caravan was set upon and 
plundered by a band of backwoodsmen of Pennsylvania — 
men resembling Indians in garb and habits, and fully as 
lawless. At another time, when encamped at the mouth of 
the Wabash with some of his Indian allies, a band of Kick- 
apoos, supposing the latter to be Cherokees, their deadly 

348 ll/or^s of U/asl?ii?^toi) Irving 

enemies, rushed forth from the woods with horrid yells, shot 
down several of his companions, and wounded himself. It 
must be added, that no white men could have made more 
ample apologies than did the Kickapoos, when they discov- 
ered that they had fired upon friends. 

Another of Croghan's perils was from the redoubtable 
Pontiac himself. That chieftain had heard of his being 
on a mission to win off, by dint of presents, the other sa- 
chems of the conspiracy, and declared, significantly, that 
he had a large kettle boiling, in which he intended to seethe 
the embassador. It was fortunate for Croghan that he did 
not meet with the formidable chieftain while in this exas- 
perated mood. He subsequently encountered him when 
Pontiac's spirits were broken by reverses. They smoked the 
pipe of peace together, and the colonel claimed the credit of 
having, by his diplomacy, persuaded the sachem to bury the 

On the day following the repast at the fort, "Washington 
visited Croghan at his abode on the Alleghany River, where 
he found several of the chiefs of the Six Nations assembled. 
One of them, the White Mingo by name, made him a speech, 
accompanied, as usual, by a belt of wampum. Some of his 
companions, he said, remembered to have seen him in 1753, 
when he came on his embassy to the French commander; 
most of them had heard of him. They had now come to 
welcome him to their country. They wished the people of 
Virginia to consider them as friends and brothers, linked 
together in one chain, and requested him to inform the gov- 
ernor of their desire to live in peace and harmony with the 
white men. As to certain unhappy differences which had 
taken place between them on the frontiers, they were all 
made up, and, they hoped, forgotten. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 340 

Washington accepted the " speech belt," and made a 
suitable reply, assuring the chiefs that nothing was more 
desired by the people of Virginia than to live with them on 
terms of the strictest friendship. 

At Pittsburg the travelers left their horses, and embarked 
in a large canoe, to make a voyage down the Ohio as far as 
the Great Kanawha. Colonel Croghan engaged two Indians 
for their service, and an interpreter named John Nicholson. 
The colonel and some of the officers of the garrison accom- 
panied them as far as Logstown, the scene of "Washington's 
early diplomacy, and his first interview with the half -king. 
Here they breakfasted together; after which they separated, 
the colonel and his companions cheering the voyagers from 
the shore, as the canoe was borne off by the current of the 
beautiful Ohio. 

It was now the hunting season, when the Indians leave 
their towns, set off with their families, and lead a roving 
life in cabins and hunting-camps along the river; shifting 
from place to place, as game abounds or decreases, and often 
extending their migrations two or three hundred miles down 
the stream. The women were as dexterous as the men in 
the management of the canoe, but were generally engaged 
in the domestic labors of the lodge while their husbands were 
abroad hunting. 

Washington's propensities as a sportsman had here full 
play. Deer were continually to be seen coming down to the 
water's edge to drink, or browsing along the shore ; there 
were innumerable flocks of wild turkeys, and streaming 
flights of ducks and geese; so that as the voyagers floated 
along they were enabled to load their canoe with game. At 
night they encamped on the river bank, lighted their fire, 
and made a sumptuous hunter's repast. Washington always 

350 U/orl{8 of \JJ a &\)ir)$tor) Irulp$ 

relished this wild- wood life; and the present had that spice 
of danger in it which has a peculiar charm for adventurous 
minds. The great object of his expedition, however, is 
evinced in his constant notes on the features and character 
of the country; the quality of the soil as indicated by the 
nature of the trees, and the level tracts fitted for settlements. 

About seventy-five miles below Pittsburg, the voyagers 
landed at a Mingo town, which they found in a stir of war- 
like preparation — sixty of the warriors being about to set off 
on a foray into the Cherokee country against the Catawbas. 

Here the voyagers were brought to a pause by a report 
that two white men, traders, had been murdered about thirty- 
eight miles further down the river. Reports of the kind were 
not to be treated lightly. Indian faith was uncertain along 
the frontier, and white men were often shot down in the 
wilderness for plunder or revenge. On the following day 
the report moderated. Only one man was said to have been 
killed, and that not by Indians; so Washington determined 
to continue forward until he could obtain correct information 
in the matter. 

On the 24th, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, the voy- 
agers arrived at Captema Creek, at the mouth of which the 
trader was said to have been killed. As all was quiet and 
no one to be seen, they agreed to encamp, while Nicholson, 
the interpreter, and one of the Indians, repaired to a village 
a few miles up the creek to inquire about the murder. They 
found but two old women at the village. The men were all 
absent, hunting. The interpreter returned to camp in the 
evening, bringing the truth of the murderous tale. A trader 
had fallen a victim to his temerity, having been drowned in 
attempting, in company with another, to swim his horse 
across the Ohio. 

Cife of U/asl?iD$ton 351 

Two days more of voyaging brought them to an Indian 
hunting camp, near the mouth of the Muskingum. Here 
it was necessary to land and make a ceremonious visit, for 
the chief of the hunting party was Kiashuta, a Seneca 
sachem, the head of the river tribes. He was noted to have 
been among the first to raise the hatchet in Pontiac's con- 
spiracy, and almost equally vindictive with that potent war- 
rior. As Washington approached the chieftain, he recog- 
nized him for one of the Indians who had accompanied him 
on his mission to the French in 1753. 

Kiashuta retained a perfect recollection of the youthful 
embassador, though seventeen years had matured him into 
thoughtful manhood. With hunter's hospitality he gave 
him a quarter of a fine buffalo just slain, but insisted that 
they should encamp together for the night ; and in order not 
to retard him, moved with his own party to a good camping 
place some distance down the river. Here they had long 
talks and council-fires overnight and in the morning, with 
all the " tedious ceremony," says Washington, " which the 
Indians observe in their counselings and speeches." Ki- 
ashuta had heard of what had passed between Washington 
and the " White Mingo," and other sachems, at Colonel Cro- 
ghan's, and was eager to express his own desire for peace 
and friendship with Virginia, and fair dealings with her 
traders ; all which Washington promised to report faithfully 
to the governor. It was not until a late hour in the morning 
that he was enabled to bring these conferences to a close, 
and pursue his voyage. 

At the mouth of the Great Kanawha the voyagers en- 
camped for a day or two to examine the lands in the neigh- 
borhood, and Washington set up his mark upon such as he 
intended to claim on behalf of the soldiers' grant. It was 

352 U/or^s of U/asl?ir>$toi) Irvioo; 

a fine sporting country, having small lakes or grassy ponds 
abounding with water-fowl, such as ducks, geese, and swans. 
Flocks of turkeys, as usual ; and for larger game, deer and 
buffalo; so that their camp abounded with provisions. 

Here Washington was visited by an old sachem, who 
approached him with great reverence, at the head of several 
of his tribe, and addressed him through Nicholson, the inter- 
preter. He had heard, he said, of his being in that part of 
the country, and had come from a great distance to see him. 
On further discourse, the sachem made known that he was 
one of the warriors in the service of the French, who lay in 
ambush on the banks of the Monongahela, and wrought such 
havoc in Braddock's army. He declared that he and his 
young men had singled out "Washington, as he made himself 
conspicuous riding about the field of battle with the general's 
orders, and had fired at him repeatedly, but without success; 
whence they had concluded that he was under the protection 
of the Great Spirit, had a charmed life, and could not be 
slain in battle. 

At the Great Kanawha, Washington's expedition down 
the Ohio terminated; having visited all the points he wished 
to examine. His return to Fort Pitt, and thence homeward, 
affords no incident worthy of note. The whole expedition, 
however, was one of that hardy and adventurous kind, 
mingled with practical purposes, in which he delighted. 
This winter voyage down the Ohio in a canoe, with the 
doctor for a companion, and two Indians for crew, through 
regions yet insecure from the capricious hostility of prowling 
savages, is not one of the least striking of his frontier "ex- 
periences." The hazardous nature of it was made apparent 
shortly afterward, by another outbreak of the Ohio tribes; 
one of its bloodiest actions took place on the very banks of 

Cife of U/asfyin^tor) 353 

the Great Kanawha, in which Colonel Lewis and a number 
of brave Virginians lost their lives. 


In the final adjustment of claims under Governor Din- 
widdie's proclamation, "Washington, acting on behalf of the 
officers and soldiers, obtained grants for the lands he had 
marked out in the course of his visit to the Ohio. Fifteen 
thousand acres were awarded to a field-officer, nine thousand 
to a captain, six thousand to a subaltern, and so on. Among 
the claims which he entered were those of Stobo and Van 
Braam, the hostages in the capitulation at the Great Mead- 
ows. After many vicissitudes they were now in London, 
and nine thousand acres were awarded to each of them. 
Their domains were ultimately purchased by Washington 
through his London agent. 

Another claimant was Colonel George Muse, Washing- 
ton's early instructor in military science. His claim was 
admitted with difficulty, for he stood accused of having acted 
the part of a poltroon in the campaign, and "Washington 
seems to have considered the charge well-founded. Still he 
appears to have been dissatisfied with the share of land 
assigned him, and to have written to Washington somewhat 
rudely on the subject. His letter is not extant, but we sub- 
join Washington's reply almost entire, as a specimen of the 
caustic pen he could wield under a mingled emotion of scorn 
and indignation. 

"Sir — Your impertinent letter was delivered to me yes- 
terday. As I am not accustomed to receive such from any 
man, nor would have taken the same language from you 
personally, without letting you feel some marks of my resent- 
ment, I advise you to be cautious in writing me a second of 
the same tenor; for though I understand you were drunk 
when you did it, jet give me leave to tell you that drunken- 
ness is no excuse for rudeness. But for your stupidity and 

354 U/or^s of U/asr;iQ$too Iruio^ 

sottishness you might have known, by attending to the public 
gazette, that you had your full quantity of ten thousand 
acres of land allowed you : that is, nine thousand and sev- 
enty-three acres in the great tract, and the remainder in the 
small tract. 

"But suppose you had really fallen short, do you think 
your superlative merit entitles you to greater indulgence 
than others? Or, if it did, that I was to make it good to 
you, when it was at the option of the governor and council 
to allow but five hundred acres in the whole, if they had 
been so inclined? If either of these should happen to be your 
opinion, I am very well convinced that you will be singular 
in it ; and all my concern is that I ever engaged myself in 
behalf of so ungrateful and dirty a fellow as you are." 

N.B. — The above is from the letter as it exists in the 
archives of the Department of State at Washington. It 
differs in two or three particulars from that published among 
Washington's writings. 


Lord Dunmore Governor of Virginia — Piques the Pride of the Vir- 
ginians — Opposition of the Assembly — Corresponding Commit- 
tees — Death of Miss Custis — Washington's Guardianship of John 
Parke Custis — His Opinions as to Premature Travel and Prema- 
ture Marriage 

TpE discontents of Virginia, which had been partially 
soothed by the amiable administration of Lord Botetourt, 
were irritated anew under his successor, the Earl of Dun- 
more. This nobleman had for a short time held the govern- 
ment of New York. When appointed to that of Virginia, 
he lingered for several months at his former post. In the 
meantime, he sent his military secretary, Captain Foy, to 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)$toi) 355 

attend to the dispatch of business until his arrival ; awarding 
to him a salary and fees to be paid by the colony. 

The pride of the Virginians was piqued at his lingering 
at New York, as if he preferred its gayety and luxury to the 
comparative quiet and simplicity of Williamsburg. Their 
pride was still more piqued on his arrival, by what they con- 
sidered haughtiness on his part. The spirit of the " Ancient 
Dominion' ' was roused, and his lordship experienced oppo- 
sition at his very outset. 

The first measure of the Assembly, at its opening, was 
to demand by what right he had awarded a salary and fees 
to his secretary without consulting it ; and to question whether 
it was authorized by the crown. 

His lordship had the good policy to rescind the unauthor- 
ized act, and in so doing mitigated the ire of the Assembly; 
but he lost no time in proroguing a body which, from various 
symptoms, appeared to be too independent, and disposed to 
be untractable. 

He continued to prorogue it from time to time, seeking 
in the interim to conciliate the Virginians and soothe their 
irritated pride. At length, after repeated prorogations, he 
was compelled by circumstances to convene it on the 1st of 
March, 1773. 

Washington was prompt in his attendance on the oc- 
casion; and foremost among the patriotic members, who 
eagerly availed themselves of this long-wished-for oppor- 
tunity to legislate upon the general affairs of the colonies. 
One of their most important measures was the appointment 
of a committee of eleven persons, " whose business it should 
be to obtain the most clear and authentic intelligence of all 
such acts and resolutions of the British Parliament, or pro- 
ceedings of administration, as may relate to or affect the 

856 U/orl^s of U/asr;ii)$ton Irving 

British colonies, and to maintain with their sister colonies 
a correspondence and communication." 

The plan thus proposed by their " noble, patriotic sister 
colony of Virginia, ' p * was promptly adopted by the people 
of Massachusetts, and soon met with general concurrence. 
These corresponding committees, in effect, became the execu- 
tive power of the patriot party, producing the happiest con- 
cert of design and action throughout the colonies. 

Notwithstanding the decided part taken by Washington 
in the popular movement, very friendly relations existed be- 
tween him and Lord Dunmore. The latter appreciated his 
character, and sought to avail himself of his experience in 
the affairs of the province. It was even concerted that 
Washington should accompany his lordship on an extensive 
tour, which the latter intended to make in the course of the 
summer along the western frontier. A melancholy circum- 
stance occurred to defeat this arrangement. 

We have spoken of Washington's paternal conduct toward 
the two children of Mrs. Washington. The daughter, Miss 
Custis, had long been an object of extreme solicitude. She 
was of a fragile constitution, and for some time past had 
been in very declining health. Early in the present summer, 
symptoms indicated a rapid change for the worse. Wash- 
ington was absent from home at the time. On his return to 
Mount Vernon, he found her in the last stage of consump- 

Though not a man given to bursts of sensibility, he is 
said on the present occasion to have evinced the deepest 
affliction ; kneeling by her bedside, and pouring out earnest 
prayers for her recovery. She expired on the 19th of June, 

* Boston Town Records. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}<$tor) 357 

in the seventeenth year of her age. This, of course, put an 
end to Washington's intention of accompanying Lord Dun- 
more to the frontier; he remained at home to console Mrs. 
Washington in her affliction — furnishing his lordship, how- 
ever, with traveling hints and directions, and recommending 
proper guides. And here we will take occasion to give a 
few brief particulars of domestic affairs at Mount Vernon. 

For a long time previous to the death of Miss Custis, her 
mother, despairing of her recovery, had centered her hopes 
in her son, John Parke Custis. This rendered Washington's 
guardianship of him a delicate and difficult task. He was 
lively, susceptible, and impulsive; had an independent fort- 
une in his own right, and an indulgent mother, ever ready 
to plead in his behalf against wholesome discipline. He had 
been placed under the care and instruction of an Episcopal 
clergyman at Annapolis, but was occasionally at home, 
mounting his horse, and taking a part, while yet a boy, in 
the fox-hunts at Mount Vernon. His education had conse- 
quently been irregular and imperfect, and not such as Wash- 
ington would have enforced had he possessed over him the 
absolute authority of a father. Shortly after the return of 
the latter from his tour to the Ohio, he was concerned to find 
that there was an idea entertained of sending the lad abroad, 
though but little more than sixteen years of age, to travel 
under the care of his clerical tutor. Through his judicious 
interference, the traveling scheme was postponed, and it was 
resolved to give the young gentleman's mind the benefit of 
a little preparatory home culture. 

Little more than a year elapsed before the sallying im- 
pulses of the youth had taken a new direction. He was in 
love ; what was more, he was engaged to the object of his 
passion, and on the high road to matrimony. 

358 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$too Iruip$ 

"Washington now opposed himself to premature marriage 
as he had done to premature travel. A correspondence 
ensued between him and the young lady's father, Benedict 
Calvert, Esq. The match was a satisfactory one to all par- 
ties, but it was agreed that it was expedient for the youth to 
pass a year or two previously at college. "Washington ac- 
cordingly accompanied him to New York, and placed him 
under the care of the Rev. Dr. Cooper, president of King's 
(now Columbia) College, to pursue his studies in that institu- 
tion. All this occurred before the death of his sister. "Within 
a year after that melancholy event, he became impatient for 
a union with the object of his choice. His mother, now 
more indulgent than ever to this, her only child, yielded her 
consent, and "Washington no longer made opposition. 

"It has been against my wishes," writes the latter to 
President Cooper, "that he should quit college in order that 
he may soon enter into a new scene of life, which I think he 
would be much fitter for some years hence than now. But 
having his own inclination, the desires of his mother, and 
the acquiescence of almost all his relatives to encounter, I 
did not care, as he is the last of the family, to push my 
opposition too far; I have, therefore, submitted to a kind 
of necessity." 

The marriage was celebrated on the 3d of February, 1774, 
before the bridegroom was twenty-one years of age. 


"We are induced to subjoin extracts of two letters from 
"Washington relative to young Custis. The first gives his 
objections to premature travel; the second to premature 
matrimony. Both are worthy of consideration in this coun- 

Cife of \JJa&\)ir)Qtov) 359 

try, where our young people have such a general disposition 
to "go ahead.' ' 

To the Rev. Jonathan Boucher (the tutor of young Custis). 

". . . . I cannot help giving it as my opinion, that his 
education, however advanced it may be for a youth of his 
age, is by no means ripe enough for a traveling tour; not 
that I think his becoming a mere scholar is a desirable educa- 
tion for a gentleman, but I conceive a knowledge of books is 
the basis upon which all other knowledge is to be built, and 
in traveling he is to become acquainted with men and things, 
rather than books. At present, however well versed he may 
be in the principles of the Latin language (which is not to 
be wondered at, as he began the study of it as soon as he 
could speak), he is unacquainted with several of the classic 
authors that might be useful to him. He is ignorant of 
Greek, the advantages of learning which I do not pretend 
to judge of; and he knows nothing of French, which is 
absolutely necessary to him as a traveler. He has little or 
no acquaintance with arithmetic, and is totally ignorant of 
the mathematics — than which, at least so much of them as 
relates to surveying, nothing can be more essentially nec- 
essary to any man possessed of a large landed estate, the 
bounds of some part or other of which are always in contro- 
versy. Now whether he has time between this and next 
spring to acquire a sufficient knowledge of these studies, I 
leave you to judge; as, also, whether a boy of seventeen 
years old (which will be his age next November) can have 
any just notions of the end and design of traveling. I have 
already given it as my opinion that it would be precipitating 
this event, unless he were to go immediately to the university 
for a couple of years ; in which case he could see nothing of 
America; which might be a disadvantage to him, as it is 
to be expected that every man, who travels with a view of 
observing the laws and customs of other countries, should 
be able to give some description of the situation and govern- 
ment of his own." 

360 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir}$toi) Irvii)$ 

The following are extracts from the letter to Benedict 
Calvert, Esq., the young lady's father: 

"I write to you on a subject of importance, and of no 
small embarrassment to me. My son-in-law and ward, Mr. 
Custis, has, as I have been informed, paid his addresses to 
your second daughter; and having made some progress in 
her affections, has solicited her in marriage. How far a 
union of this sort may be agreeable to you, you best can tell; 
but I should think myself wanting in candor were I not to 
confess that Miss Nelly's amiable qualities are acknowledged 
on all hands and that an alliance with your family will be 
pleasing to his. 

"This acknowledgment being made, you must permit me 
to add, sir, that at this, or in any short time, his youth, inex- 
perience, and unripened education are, and will be, insuper- 
able obstacles, in my opinion, to the completion of the mar- 
riage. As his guardian, I conceive it my indispensable duty 
to endeavor to carry him through a regular course of educa- 
tion (many branches of which, I am sorry to say, he is totally 
deficient in), and to guide his youth to a more advanced age, 
before an event, on which his own peace and the happiness 
of another are to depend, takes place. ... If the affection 
which they have avowed for each other is fixed upon a solid 
basis, it will receive no diminution in the course of two or 
three years; in which time he may prosecute his studies, and 
thereby render himself more deserving of the lady, and useful 
to society. If, unfortunately, as they are both young, there 
should be an abatement of affection on either side, or both, 
it had better precede than follow marriage. 

"Delivering my sentiments thus freely, will not, I hope, 
lead you into a belief that I am desirous of breaking off the 
match. To postpone it is all I have in view; for I shall 
^commend to the young gentleman, with the warmth that 
becomes a man of honor, to consider himself as much en- 
gaged to your daughter as if the indissoluble knot were tied ; 
and as the surest means of effecting this, to apply himself 
closely to his studies, by which he will, in a great measure, 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$toi) 361 

avoid those little flirtations with other young ladies that 
may, by dividing the attention, contribute not a little to 
divide the affection." 


Lord North's Bill favoring the Exportation of Teas — Ships freighted 
with Tea to the Colonies — Sent back from some of the Ports — 
Tea destroyed at Boston — Passage of the Boston Port Bill — Ses- 
sion of the House of Burgesses — Splendid Opening — Burst of 
Indignation at the Port Bill — House Dissolved — Resolutions at 
the Raleigh Tavern — Project of a General Congress — Washing- 
ton and Lord Dunmore — The Port Bill goes into Effect — Gen- 
eral Gage at Boston — League and Covenant! 

The general covenant throughout the colonies against 
the use of taxed tea had operated disastrously against the 
interests of the East India Company, and produced an im- 
mense accumulation of the proscribed article in their ware- 
houses. To remedy this, Lord North brought in a bill (1773), 
by which the company were allowed to export their teas 
from England to any part whatever, without paying export 
duty. This, by enabling them to offer their teas at a low 
price in the colonies would, he supposed, tempt the Amer- 
icans to purchase large quantities, thus relieving the com* 
pany, and at the same time benefiting the revenue by the 
impost duty. Confiding in the wisdom of this policy the 
company disgorged their warehouses, freighted several ships 
with tea, and sent them to various parts of the colonies. 
This brought matters to a crisis. One sentiment, one de- 
termination, pervaded the whole continent. Taxation was 
to receive its definitive blow. Whoever submitted to it was 

an enemy to his country. From New York and Philadel- 

* * * P— Vol. XII. 

362 U/or^s of U/a8t>ir>$tOQ Iruli?^ 

phia the ships were sent back, unladen, to London. In 
Charleston the tea was unloaded, and stored away in cellars 
and other places, where it perished. At Boston the action 
was still more decisive. The ships anchored in the harbor. 
Some small parcels of tea were brought on shore, but the sale 
of them was prohibited. The captains of the ships, seeing 
the desperate state of the case, would have made sail back 
for England, but they could not obtain the consent of the 
consignees, a clearance at the custom-house, or a passport 
from the governor to clear the fort. It was evident the tea 
was to be forced upon the people of Boston, and the principle 
of taxation established. 

To settle the matter completely, and prove that, on a 
point of principle, they were not to be trifled with, a number 
of the inhabitants, disguised as Indians, boarded the ships in 
the night (18th December), broke open all the chests of tea, 
and emptied the contents into the sea. This was no rash 
and intemperate proceeding of a mob, but the well-consid- 
ered, though resolute act of sober, respectable citizens, men 
of reflection, but determination. The whole was done 
calmly, and in perfect order; after which the actors in the 
scene dispersed without tumult, and returned quietly to their 

The general opposition of the colonies to the principle of 
taxation had given great annoyance to government, but this 
individual act concentrated all its wrath upon Boston. A 
bill was forthwith passed in Parliament (commonly called 
the Boston port bill), by which all lading and unlading of 
goods, wares, and merchandise, were to cease in that town 
and harbor, on and after the 1st of June, and the officers 
of the customs to be transferred to Salem. 

Another law, passed soon after, altered the charter of 

Cife of \JJasfy\T)$toT) 363 

the province, decreeing that all counselors, judges, and 
magistrates, should be appointed by the crown, and hold 
office during the royal pleasure. 

This was followed by a third, intended for the suppression 
of riots ; and providing that any person indicted for murder, 
or other capital offense, committed in aiding the magistracy, 
might be sent by the governor to some other colony, or to 
Great Britain, for trial. 

Such was the bolt of Parliamentary wrath fulminated 
against the devoted town of Boston. Before it fell there was 
a session, in May, of the Virginia House of Burgesses. The 
social position of Lord Dunmore had been strengthened in 
the province by the arrival of his lady, and a numerous 
family of sons and daughters. The old Virginia aristocracy 
had vied with each other in hospitable attentions to the 
family. A court circle had sprung up. Regulations had 
been drawn up by a herald, and published officially, deter- 
mining the rank and precedence of civil and military officers, 
and their wives. The aristocracy of the Ancient Dominion 
was furbishing up its former splendor. Carriages and four 
rolled into the streets of Williamsburg, with horses hand- 
somely caparisoned, bringing the wealthy planters and their 
families to the seat of government. 

Washington arrived in Williamsburg on the 16th, and 
dined with the governor on the day of his arrival, having 
a distinguished position in the court circle, and being still 
on terms of intimacy with his lordship. The House of Bur- 
gesses was opened in form, and one of its first measures was 
an address of congratulation to the governor on the arrival 
of his lady. It was followed up by an agreement among 
the members to give her ladyship a splendid ball, on the 27th 
of the month. 

364 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir}$toi) Iruir?^ 

All things were going on smoothly and smilingly, when 
a letter, received through the corresponding committee, 
brought intelligence of the vindictive measure of Parliament, 
by which the port of Boston was to be closed on the ap- 
proaching 1st of June. 

The letter was read in the House of Burgesses, and pro- 
duced a general burst of indignation. All other business 
was thrown aside, and this became the sole subject of dis- 
cussion. A protest against this and other recent acts of 
Parliament was entered upon the journal of the House, and 
a resolution was adopted, on the 24th of May, setting apart 
the 1st of June as a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation ; 
in which the Divine interposition was to be implored, to avert 
the heavy calamity threatening destruction to their rights, 
and all the evils of civil war; and to give the people one 
heart and one mind in firmly opposing every injury to 
American liberties. 

On the following morning, while the Burgesses were 
engaged in animated debate, they were summoned to attend 
Lord Dunmore in the council chamber, where he made them 
the following laconic speech : ' ' Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen 
of the House of Burgesses : I have in my hand a paper, pub- 
lished by order of your House, conceived in such terms as 
reflect highly upon his majesty, and the Parliament of Great 
Britain, which makes it necessary for me to dissolve you, 
and you are dissolved accordingly." 

As on a former occasion, the Assembly, though dissolved, 
was not dispersed. The members adjourned to the long 
room of the old Raleigh tavern, and passed resolutions, de- 
nouncing the Boston port bill as a most dangerous attempt 
to destroy the constitutional liberty and rights of all North 
America; recommending their countrymen to desist from 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)$too 365 

the use, not merely of tea, but of all kinds of East India 
commodities ; pronouncing an attack on one of the colonies, 
to enforce arbitrary taxes, an attack on all; and ordering 
the committee of correspondence to communicate with the 
other corresponding committees, on the expediency of ap- 
pointing deputies from the several colonies of British America, 
to meet annually in General Congress, at such place as might 
be deemed expedient, to deliberate on such measures as the 
united interests of the colonies might require. 

This was the first recommendation of a General Congress 
by any public assembly, though it had been previously pro- 
posed in town meetings at New York and Boston. A resolu- 
tion to the same effect was passed in the Assembly of Massa- 
chusetts before it was aware of the proceedings of the Vir- 
ginia Legislature. The measure recommended met with 
prompt and general concurrence throughout the colonies, 
and the fifth day of September next ensuing was fixed upon 
for the meeting of the first Congress, which was to be held 
at Philadelphia. 

Notwithstanding Lord Dunmore's abrupt dissolution of 
the House of Burgesses, the members still continued on 
courteous terms with him, and the ball which they had 
decreed early in the session, in honor of Lady Dunmore, was 
celebrated on the 27th with unwavering gallantry. 

As to "Washington, widely as he differed from Lord Dun- 
more on important points of policy, his intimacy with him 
remained uninterrupted. By memorandums in his diary it 
appears that he dined and passed the evening at his lord- 
ship's on the 25th, the very day of the meeting at the Raleigh 
tavern. That he rode out with him to his farm, and break- 
fasted there with him on the 26th, and on the evening of the 
27th attended the ball given to her ladyship. Such was 

566 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^toi) Irvlr)<$ 

the well-bred decorum that seemed to quiet the turbulence 
of popular excitement, without checking the full and firm 
expression of popular opinion. 

On the 29th, two days after the ball, letters arrived from 
Boston giving the proceedings of a town meeting, recom- 
mending that a general league should be formed throughout 
the colonies suspending all trade with Great Britain. But 
twenty-five members of the late House of Burgesses, includ- 
ing Washington, were at that time remaining in Williams- 
burg. They held a meeting on the following day, at which 
Peyton Randolph presided as moderator. After some dis- 
cussion it was determined to issue a printed circular, bearing 
their signatures, and calling a meeting of all the members 
of the late House of Burgesses, on the 1st of August, to 
take into consideration this measure of a general league. 
The circular recommended them, also, to collect, in the 
meantime, the sense of their respective counties. 

"Washington was still at Williamsburg on the 1st of June, 
the day when the port bill was to be enforced at Boston. It 
was ushered in by the tolling of bells, and observed by all 
true patriots as a day of fasting and humiliation. Washing- 
ton notes in his diary that he fasted rigidly, and attended 
the services appointed in the church. Still his friendly inter- 
course with the Dunmore family was continued during the 
remainder of his sojourn in Williamsburg, where he was 
detained by business until the 20th, when he set out on his 
return to Mount Vernon. 

In the meantime the Boston port bill had been carried 
into effect. On the 1st of June the harbor of Boston was 
closed at noon, and all business ceased. The two other 
Parliamentary acts altering the charter of Massachusetts 
were to be enforced. No public meetings, excepting the 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$t09 367 

annual town meetings in March and May, were to be held 
without permission of the governor. 

General Thomas Gage had recently been appointed to 
the military command of Massachusetts, and the carrying 
out of these offensive acts. He was the same officer who, 
as lieutenant-colonel, had led the advance guard on the field 
of Braddock's defeat. Fortune had since gone well with 
him. Rising in the service, he had been governor of Mont- 
real, <and had succeeded Amherst in the command of the 
British forces on this continent. He was linked to the 
country also by domestic ties, having married into one of 
the most respectable families of New Jersey. In the various 
situations in which he had hitherto been placed he had won 
esteem, and rendered himself popular. Not much was ex- 
pected from him in his present post by those who knew him 
well. William Smith, the historian, speaking of him to 
Adams, "Gage," said he, "was a good-natured, peaceable, 
sociable man while here (in New York), but altogether 
unfit for a governor of Massachusetts. He will lose all the 
character he has acquired as a man, a gentleman, and a 
general, and dwindle down into a mere scribbling governor 
—a mere Bernard or Hutchinson.' ' 

With all Gage's experience in America, he had formed 
a most erroneous opinion of the character of the people. 
"The Americans," said he to the king, "will be lions only 
as long as the English are lambs"; and he engaged, with 
five regiments, to keep Boston quiet ! 

The manner in which his attempts to enforce the recent 
acts of Parliament were resented showed how egregiously 
he was in error. At the suggestion of the Assembly, a 
paper was circulated through the province by the committee 
of correspondence, entitled "a solemn league and covenant," 

368 U/or^s of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) Irvir><$ 

the subscribers to which bound themselves to break off all 
intercourse with Great Britain from the 1st of August, until 
the colony should be restored to the enjoyment of its char- 
tered rights; and to renounce all dealings with those who 
should refuse to enter into this compact. 

The very title of league and covenant had an ominous 
sound and startled General Gage. He issued a proclama- 
tion, denouncing it as illegal and traitorous. Furthermore, 
he encamped a force of infantry and artillery on Boston 
Common, as if prepared to enact the lion. An alarm spread 
through the adjacent country. "Boston is to be blockaded! 
Boston is to be reduced to obedience by force or famine!" 
The spirit of the yeomanry was aroused. They sent in word 
to the inhabitants promising to come to their aid if neces- 
sary ; and urging them to stand fast to the faith. Affairs 
were coming to a crisis. It was predicted that the new acts 
of Parliament would bring on "a most important and decisive 


Washington Chairman of a Political Meeting — Correspondence with 
Bryan Fairfax — Patriotic Resolutions — Washington's Opinions 
on Public Affairs — Non-importation Scheme — Convention at 
Williamsburg — Washington appointed a Delegate to the Gen- 
eral Congress — Letter from Bryan Fairfax — Perplexities of 
General Gage at Boston 

Shortly after Washington's return to Mount Vernon, 
in the latter part of June, he presided as moderator at a 
meeting of the inhabitants of Fairfax County, wherein, after 
the recent acts of Parliament had been discussed, a commit- 

Cife of \JJ astyvqtor) 369 

tee was appointed, with, himself as chairman, to draw up 
resolutions expressive of the sentiments of the present meet- 
ing, and to report the same at a general meeting of the 
county, to be held in the court-house on the 18th of July. 

The course that public measures were taking shocked the 
loyal feelings of Washington's valued friend, Bryan Fairfax, 
of Tarlston Hall, a younger brother of George William, who 
was absent in England. He was a man of liberal senti- 
ments, but attached to the ancient rule ; and, in a letter to 
Washington, advised a petition to the throne, which would 
give Parliament an opportunity to repeal the offensive acts. 

"I would heartily join you in your political sentiments,' ' 
writes Washington in reply, "as far as relates to a humble 
and dutiful petition to the throne, provided there was the 
most distant hope of success. But have we not tried this 
already? Have we not addressed the lords, and remon- 
strated to the commons? And to what end? Does it not 
appear as clear as the sun in its meridian brightness that 
there is a regular systematic plan to fix the right and prac- 
tice of taxation upon us? Is not the attack upon 

the liberty and property of the people of Boston, before res- 
titution of the loss to the India Company was demanded, a 
plain and self-evident proof of what they are aiming at? Do 
not the subsequent bills for depriving the Massachusetts Bay 
of its charter, and for transporting offenders to other colonies 
or to Great Britain for trial, where it is impossible, from the 
nature of things, that justice can be obtained, convince us 
that the administration is determined to stick at nothing to 
carry its point? Ought we not, then, to put our virtue and 
fortitude to the severest tests?" 

The committee met according to appointment, with Wash- 
ington as chairman. The resolutions framed at the meeting 

370 U/or^s of U/a8^ir>^toi) Iruir>$ 

insisted, as usual, on the right of self-government, and the 
principle that taxation and representation were in their nat- 
ure inseparable. That the various acts of Parliament for 
raising revenue; taking away trials by jury; ordering that 
persons might be tried in a different country from that in 
which the cause of accusation originated ; closing the port of 
Boston; abrogating the charter of Massachusetts Bay, etc., 
etc. — were all part of a premeditated design and system to 
introduce arbitrary government into the colonies. That the 
sudden and repeated dissolutions of Assemblies, whenever 
they presumed to examine the illegality of ministerial man- 
dates, or deliberated on the violated rights of their constitu- 
ents, were part of the same system, and calculated and 
intended to drive the people of the colonies to a state of 
desperation, and to dissolve the compact by which their an- 
cestors bound themselves and their posterity to remain de- 
pendent on the British crown. The resolutions, furthermore, 
recommended the most perfect union and co-operation among 
the colonies; solemn covenants with respect to non-importa- 
tion and non-intercourse, and a renunciation of all dealings 
with any colony, town, or province that should refuse to 
agree to the plan adopted by the General Congress. 

They also recommended a dutiful petition and remon- 
strance from the Congress to the king, asserting their con- 
stitutional rights and privileges; lamenting the necessity of 
entering into measures that might be displeasing; declaring 
their attachment to his person, family and government, and 
their desire to continue in dependence upon Great Britain; 
beseeching him not to reduce his faithful subjects of America 
to desperation, and to reflect that from our sovereign there 
can be but one appeal. 

These resolutions are the more worthy of note, as expres* 

Cife of U/asl?ir;<$ton 371 

sive of the opinions and feelings of Washington at this event- 
ful time, if not being entirely dictated by him. The last 
sentence is of awful import, suggesting the possibility of be- 
ing driven to an appeal to arms. 

Bryan Fairfax, who was aware of their purport, addressed 
a long letter to Washington, on the 17th of July, the day 
preceding that in which they were to be reported by the com- 
mittee, stating his objections to several of them, and request 
ing that his letter might be publicly read. The letter was 
not received until after the committee had gone to the court- 
house on the 18th, with the resolutions revised, corrected, 
and ready to be reported. Washington glanced over the let- 
ter hastily, and handed it round to several of the gentlemen 
present. They, with one exception, advised that it should 
not be publicly read, as it was not likely to make any con- 
verts, and was repugnant, as some thought, to every prin- 
ciple they were contending for. Washington forbore, there- 
fore, to give it any further publicity. 

The resolutions reported by the committee were adopted, 
and Washington was chosen a delegate to represent the 
county at the General Convention of the province, to be 
held at Williamsburg on the 1st of August. After the meet- 
ing had adjourned, he felt doubtful whether Fairfax might 
not be dissatisfied that his letter had not been read, as he 
requested, to the county at large; he wrote to him, there- 
fore, explaining the circumstances which prevented it; at 
the same time replying to some of the objections which Fair- 
fax had made to certain of the resolutions. He reiterated 
his belief that an appeal would be ineffectual. "What is it 
we are contending against?' ' asked he. "Is it against pay- 
ing the duty of threepence per pound on tea because burden- 
some? No, it is the right only, that we have all along dis- 

372 U/or^s of U/asl?iD$t:on Iruipo; 

puted; and to this end we have already petitioned his maj- 
esty in as humble and dutiful a manner as subjects could 
do. Nay, more, we applied to the House of Lords and 
House of Commons in their different legislative capacities, 
setting forth that, as Englishmen, we could not be deprived 
of this essential and valuable part of our constitution 

"The conduct of the Boston people could not justify the 
rigor of their measures, unless there had been a requisition 
of payment, and refusal of it; nor did that conduct require 
an act to deprive the government of Massachusetts Bay of 
their charter, or to exempt offenders from trial in the places 
where offenses were committed, as there was not, nor could 
there be, a single instance produced to manifest the neces- 
sity of it. Are not all these things evident proofs of a fixed 
and uniform plan to tax us? If we want further proofs, do 
not all the debates in the House of Commons serve to con- 
firm this? And has not General Gage's conduct since his 
arrival, in stopping the address of his council, and publish- 
ing a proclamation, more becoming a Turkish bashaw than 
an English governor, declaring it treason to associate in any 
manner by which the commerce of Great Britain is to be 
affected — has not this exhibited an unexampled testimony of 
the most despotic system of tyranny that ever was practiced 
in a free government?" 

The popular measure on which Washington laid the great- 
est stress as a means of obtaining redress from government 
was the non-importation scheme; "for I am convinced," 
said he, "as much as of my existence, that there is no relief 
for us but in their distress ; and I think — at least I hope — 
that there is public virtue enough left among us to deny our- 
selves everything but the bare necessaries of life to accom- 
plish this end." At the same time he forcibly condemned a 

Cife of u7agl?in<$ton 373 

suggestion that remittances to England should be withheld. 
" While we are accusing others of injustice," said he, "we 
should be just ourselves; and how this can be while we owe 
a considerable debt, and refuse payment of it to Great Brit- 
ain, is to me inconceivable : nothing but the last extremity 
can justify it." 

On the 1st of August, the convention of representatives 
from all parts of Virginia assembled at Williamsburg. 
Washington appeared on behalf of Fairfax County, and 
presented the resolutions already cited, as the sense of his 
constituents. He is said, by one who was present, to have 
spoken in support of them in a strain of uncommon elo- 
quence, which shows how his latent ardor had been excited 
on the occasion, as eloquence was not in general among his 
attributes. It is evident, however, that he was roused to an 
unusual pitch of enthusiasm, for he is said to have declared 
that he was ready to raise one thousand men, subsist them 
at his own expense, and march at their head to the relief of 

The Convention was six days in session. Resolutions, in 
the same spirit with those passed in Fairfax County, were 
adopted, and Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry Lee, George 
Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Har- 
rison, and Edmund Pendleton were appointed delegates, to 
represent the people of Virginia in the General Congress. 

Shortly after Washington's return from Williamsburg, 
he received a reply from Bryan Fairfax to his last letter. 
Fairfax, who was really a man of liberal views, seemed anx- 
ious to vindicate himself from any suspicion of the contrary. 

* See information given to the elder Adams, by Mr. 
Lynch, of South Carolina. — Adams' Diary. 

374 U/or^s of U/asl?ir;$tor; Iruii)$ 

In adverting to the partial suppression of his letter by some 
of the gentlemen of the committee: "I am uneasy to find," 
writes he, "that any one should look upon the letter sent 
down as repugnant to the principles we are contending for; 
and, therefore, when you have leisure, I shall take it as a 
favor if you will let me know wherein it was thought so. I 
beg leave to look upon you as a friend, and it is a great 
relief to unbosom one's thoughts to a friend. Besides, the 
information, and the correction of my errors, which I may 
obtain from a correspondence, are great inducements to it. 
For I am convinced that no man in the colony wishes its 
prosperity more, would go greater lengths to serve it, or is, 
at the same time, a better subject to the crown. Pray 
excuse these compliments, they may be tolerable from a 
friend." * 

The hurry of various occupations prevented Washington, 
in his reply, from entering into any further discussion of the 
popular theme. "I can only in general add," said he, "that 
an innate spirit of freedom first told me that the measures 
which the administration have for some time been, and now 
are violently pursuing, are opposed to every principle of 
natural justice; while much abler heads than my own have 
fully convinced me that they are not only repugnant to nat- 
ural right, but subversive of the laws and constitution of 
Great Britain itself I shall conclude with remark- 
ing that if you disavow the right of Parliament to tax us, 
unrepresented as we are, we only differ in the mode of oppo- 
sition, and this difference principally arises from your belief 
that they (the Parliament, I mean) want a decent opportunity 
to repeal the acts ; while I am fully convinced that there has 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. ii., p. 329. 

Cife of U/asl?ir?$t09 375 

been a regular systematic plan to enforce them, and that 
nothing but unanimity and firmness in the colonies which 
they did not expect can prevent it. By the best advices 
from Boston, it seems that General Gage is exceedingly dis- 
concerted at the quiet and steady conduct of the people of 
the Massachusetts Bay, and at the measures pursuing by the 
other governments. I daresay he expected to force those 
oppressed people into compliance, or irritate them to acts of 
violence before this, for a more colorable pretense of ruling 
that, and the other colonies, with a high hand." 

Washington had formed a correct opinion of the position 
of General Gage. From the time of taking command at 
Boston, he had been perplexed how to manage its inhabi- 
tants. Had they been hot-headed, impulsive, and prone to 
paroxysm, his task would have been comparatively easy; 
but it was the cool, shrewd common sense by which all their 
movements were regulated that confounded him. 

High-handed measures had failed of the anticipated effect. 
Their harbor had been thronged with ships ; their town with 
troops. The port bill had put an end to commerce; wharfs 
were deserted, warehouses closed; streets grass-grown and 
silent. The rich were growing poor, and the poor were 
without employ ; yet the spirit of the people was unbroken. 
There was no uproar, however; no riots; everything was 
awfully systematic and according to rule. Town meetings 
were held, in which public rights and public measures were 
eloquently discussed by John Adams, Josiah Quincy, and 
other eminent men. Over these meetings Samuel Adams 
presided as moderator; a man clear in judgment, calm in 
conduct, inflexible in resolution; deeply grounded in civil 
and political history, and infallible on all points of consti- 
tutional law. 

376 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii?<$toi) Irving 

Alarmed at the powerful influence of these assemblages, 
government issued an act prohibiting them after the 1st of 
August. The act was evaded by convoking the meetings 
before that day, and keeping them alive indefinitely. Gage 
was at a loss how to act. It would not do to disperse these 
assemblages by force of arms ; for the people who composed 
them mingled the soldier with the polemic, and, like their 
prototypes, the Covenanters of yore, if prone to argue, were 
as ready to fight. So the meetings continued to be held per- 
tinaciously. Fanueil Hall was at times unable to hold them, 
and they swarmed from that revolutionary hive into old 
South Church. The liberty tree became a rallying-place 
for any popular movement, and a flag hoisted on it was sa- 
luted by all processions as the emblem of the popular cause. 

Opposition to the new plan of government assumed a 
more violent aspect at the extremity of the province, and 
was abetted by Connecticut. "It is very high," writes Gage 
(August 27th), "in Berkshire County, and makes way rapidly 
to the rest. At Worcester they threaten resistance, purchase 
arms, provide powder, cast balls, and threaten to attack any 
troops who may oppose them. I apprehend I shall soon 
have to march a body of troops into that township." 

The time appointed for the meeting of the General Con- 
gress at Philadelphia was now at hand. Delegates had al- 
ready gone on from Massachusetts. "It is not possible to 
guess," writes Gage,*" what a body composed of such hetero- 
geneous matter will determine ; but the members from hence, 
I am assured, will promote the most haughty and insolent 
resolves ; for the plan has ever been, by threats and high- 
sounding sedition, to terrify and intimidate." 

Cife of U/asl?ir}<$toi) 377 


Meeting of the First Congress — Opening Ceremonies — Eloquence of 
Patrick Henry and Henry Lee — Declaratory Resolution — Bill 
of Rights — State Papers — Chatham's Opinions of Congress — 
Washington's Correspondence with Captain Mackenzie — Views 
with respect to Independence — Departure of Fairfax for Eng- 

When the time approached for the meeting of the Gen- 
eral Congress at Philadelphia, Washington was joined at 
Mount Vernon by Patrick Henry and Edmund Pendleton, 
and they performed the journey together on horseback. It 
was a noble companionship. Henry was then in the youth- 
ful vigor and elasticity of his bounding genius ; ardent, acute, 
fanciful, eloquent. Pendleton, schooled in public life, a vet- 
eran in council, with native force of intellect, and habits of 
deep reflection. Washington, in the meridian of his days, 
mature in wisdom, comprehensive in mind, sagacious in fore- 
sight. Such were the apostles of liberty, repairing on their 
august pilgrimage to Philadelphia from all parts of the 
land, to lay the foundations of a mighty empire. Well may 
we say of that eventful period, " There were giants in those 

Congress assembled on Monday, the 5th of September, 
in a large room in Carpenter's Hall. There were fifty-one 
delegates, representing all the colonies excepting Georgia. 

The meeting has been described as " awfully solemn." 
The most eminent men from the various colonies were now 

378 U/or^s of U/asl?ii>$tOQ Irvii)^ 

for the first time brought together; they were known to each 
other by fame, but were, personally, strangers. The object 
which had called them together was of incalculable magni- 
tude. The liberties of no less than three millions of people, 
with that of all their posterity, were staked on the wisdom 
and energy of their councils.* 

"It is such an assembly," writes John Adams, who was 
present, "as never before came together on a sudden in any 
part of the world. Here are fortunes, abilities, learning, 
eloquence, acuteness, equal to any I ever met with in my 
life. Here is a diversity of religions, educations, manners, 
interests, such as it would seem impossible to unite in one 
plan of conduct.' ' 

There being an inequality in the number of delegates 
from the different colonies, a question arose as to the mode 
of voting; whether by colonies, by the poll, or by interests. 

Patrick Henry scouted the idea of sectional distinctions or 
individual interests. "All America," said he, "is thrown 
into one mass. "Where are your landmarks — your bounda- 
ries of colonies? They are all thrown down. The distinc- 
tions between Virginians, Pennsylvanians, New Yorkers, 
and New Englanders, are no more. I am not a Virginian, 
but an American!" \ 

After some debate, it was determined that each colony 
should have but one vote, whatever might be the number of 
its delegates. The deliberations of the House were to be 
with closed doors, and nothing but the resolves promulgated, 
unless by order of the majority. 

To give proper dignity and solemnity to the proceedings 

* Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry, p. 224. 
f J. Adams' Diary. 

Cife of U/a8^ip^tor> 379 

of the House, it was moved on the following day that each 
morning the session should be opened by prayer. To this it 
was demurred that, as the delegates were of different relig- 
ious sects, they might not consent to join in the same form 
of worship. 

Upon this, Mr. Samuel Adams arose and said: "He 
would willingly join in prayer with any gentleman of piety 
and virtue, whatever might be his cloth, provided he was a 
friend of his country;" and he moved that the reverend Mr. 
Duche, of Philadelphia, who answered to that description, 
might be invited to officiate as chaplain. This was one step 
toward unanimity of feeling, Mr. Adams being a strong 
Congregationalist, and Mr. Duche an eminent Episcopalian 
clergyman. The motion was carried into effect; the invita- 
tion was given and accepted. 

In the course of the day, a rumor reached Philadelphia 
that Boston had been cannonaded by the British. It pro- 
duced a strong sensation ; and when Congress met on the 
following morning (7th), the effect was visible in every 
countenance. The delegates from the east were greeted 
with a warmer grasp of the hand by their associates from 
the south. 

The Reverend Mr. Duche, according to invitation, ap- 
peared in his canonicals, attended by his clerk. The morn- 
ing service of the Episcopal church was read with great so* 
lemnity, the clerk making the responses. The Psalter for 
the 7th day of the month includes the 35th Psalm, wherein 
David prays for protection against his enemies. 

"Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: 
fight against them that fight against me. 

"Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my 

380 U/orl^s of U/asbii^toi) Irvir/$ 

"Draw out, also, the spear, and stop the way of them 
that persecute me. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation," 
etc., etc. 

The imploring words of this Psalm spoke the feelings of 
all hearts present; but especially of those from New Eng- 
land. John Adams writes in a letter to his wife: "You 
must remember this was the morning after we heard the 
horrible rumor of the cannonade of Boston. I never saw a 
greater effect upon an audience. It seemed as if Heaven 
had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning. After 
this, Mr. Duche unexpectedly struck out into an extemporary 
prayer, which filled the bosom of every man present. Epis- 
copalian as he is, Dr. Cooper himself never prayed with such 
fervor, such ardor, such earnestness and pathos, and in lan- 
guage so eloquent and sublime, for America, for the Con- 
gress, for the province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially 
the town of Boston. It has had an excellent effect upon 
everybody here." * 

It has been remarked that "Washington was especially de- 
vout on this occasion — kneeling, while others stood up. In 
this, however, each, no doubt, observed the attitude in prayer 
to which he was accustomed. Washington knelt, being an 

The rumored attack upon Boston rendered the service of 
the day deeply affecting to all present. They were one po- 
litical family, actuated by one feeling, and sympathizing 
with the weal and woe of each individual member. The 
rumor proved to be erroneous; but it had produced a most 
beneficial effect in calling forth and quickening the spirit of 
union, so vitally important in that assemblage. 

* John Adams' Correspondence and Diary. 

Cife of U/asl?ir><$toi> 381 

Owing to closed doors, and the want of reporters, no rec- 
ord exists of the discussions and speeches made in the first 
Congress. Mr. Wirt, speaking from tradition, informs us 
that a long and deep silence followed the organization of 
that august body; the members looking round upon each 
other, individually reluctant to open a business so fearfully 
momentous. This "deep and deathlike silence" was begin- 
ning to become painfully embarrassing, when Patrick Henry 
arose. He faltered at first, as was his habit; but his exor- 
dium was impressive ; and as he launched forth into a recital 
of colonial wrongs, he kindled with his subject, until he 
poured forth one of those eloquent appeals which had so 
often shaken the House of Burgesses, and gained him the 
fame of being the greatest orator of Virginia. He sat down, 
according to Mr. Wirt, amid murmurs of astonishment and 
applause, and was now admitted, on every hand, to be the 
greatest orator of America. He was followed by Richard 
Henry Lee, who, according to the same writer, charmed the 
House with a different kind of eloquence, chaste and clas- 
sical ; contrasting, in its cultivated graces, with the wild and 
grand effusions of Henry. "The superior powers of these 
great men, however," adds he, "were manifested only in 
debate, and while general grievances were the topic ; when 
called down from the heights of declamation to that severer 
test of intellectual excellence, the details of business, they 
found themselves in a body of cool-headed, reflecting, and 
most able men, by whom they were, in their turn, completely 

thrown into the shade." * 

The first public measure of Congress was a resolution 

declaratory of their feelings with regard to the recent acts 
* Wirt's Life of Patrick Henry. 

382 U/orl^s of U/asr;iQ$toi) Iruioo; 

of Parliament, violating the rights of the people of Massa- 
chusetts, and of their determination to combine in resisting 
any force that might attempt to carry those acts into exe- 

A committee of two from each province reported a series 
of resolutions, which were adopted and promulgated by Con- 
gress, as a "declaration of colonial rights." In this were 
enumerated their natural rights to the enjoyment of life, 
liberty, and property; and their rights as British subjects. 

Among the latter was participation in legislative councils. 
This they could not exercise through representatives in Par- 
liament; they claimed, therefore, the power of legislating 
in their provincial assemblies; consenting, however, to such 
acts of Parliament as might be essential to the regulation 
of trade; but excluding all taxation, internal or external, 
for raising revenue in America. 

The common law of England was claimed as a birthright, 
including the right of trial by a jury of the vicinage; of 
holding public meetings to consider grievances; and of peti- 
tioning the king. The benefits of all such statutes as existed 
at the time of the colonization were likewise claimed; to- 
gether with the immunities and privileges granted by royal 
charters, or secured by provincial laws. 

The maintenance of a standing army in any colony in 
time of peace, without the consent of its Legislature, was 
pronounced contrary to law. The exercise of the legislative 
power in the colonies by a council appointed during pleasure 
by the crown, was declared to be unconstitutional, and 
destructive to the freedom of American legislation. 

Then followed a specification of the acts of Parliament, 
passed during the reign of George III., infringing and vio- 
lating these rights. These were: the sugar act; the stamp 

Cife of U/a8bii}<$tor) 383 

act ; the two acts for quartering troops ; the tea act ; the act 
suspending the New York legislature ; the two acts for the 
trial in Great Britain of offenses committed in America; the 
Boston port bill; the act for regulating the government of 
Massachusetts, and the Quebec act. 

"To these grievous acts and measures," it was added, 
"Americans cannot submit; but in hopes their fellow sub- 
jects in Great Britain will, on a revision of them, restore us 
to that state in which both countries found happiness and 
prosperity, we have, for the present, only resolved to pursue, 
the following peaceable measures : 

"1st. To enter into a non-importation, non-consumption, 
and non-exportation agreement, or association. 

"2d. To prepare an address to the people of Great Britain, 
and a memorial to the inhabitants of British America. 

"3d. To prepare a loyal address to His Majesty." 

The above-mentioned association was accordingly formed, 
and committees were to be appointed in every county, city, 
and town, to maintain it vigilantly and strictly. 

Masterly state papers were issued by Congress in con- 
formity to the resolutions : viz. , a petition to the king, drafted 
by Mr. Dickinson, of Philadelphia; an address to the people 
of Canada by the same hand, inviting them to join the league 
of the colonies; another to the people of Great Britain., 
drafted by John Jay, of New York ; and a memorial to the 
inhabitants of the British colonies by Richard Henry Lee, 
of Virginia.* 

The Congress remained in session fifty-one days. Every 
subject, according to Adams, was discussed "with a modera- 

* See Correspondence and Diary of J. Adams, vols. ii. 
and ix. 

384 U/orKs of U/asl?ir>^toi) Iruip^ 

tion, an acuteness, and a minuteness equal to Queen Eliza- 
beth's privy council." * 

The papers issued by it have deservedly been pronounced 
masterpieces of practical talent and political wisdom. Chat- 
ham, when speaking on the subject in the House of Lords, 
could not restrain his enthusiasm. "When your lordships," 
said he, "look at the papers transmitted to us from America; 
when you consider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you 
cannot but respect their cause, and wish to make it your 
own. For myself, I must declare and avow that, in the 
master states of the world, I know not the people, or senate, 
who, in such a complication of difficult circumstances, can 
stand in preference to the delegates of America assembled in 
General Congress at Philadelphia." 

From the secrecy that enveloped its discussions, we are 
ignorant of the part taken by Washington in the debates; 
the similarity of the resolutions, however, in spirit and sub- 
stance, to those of the Fairfax County meeting, in which he 
presided, and the coincidence of the measures adopted with 
those therein recommended, show that he had a powerful 
agency in the whole proceedings of this eventful assembly. 
Patrick Henry, being asked, on his return home, whom he 
considered the greatest man in Congress, replied: "If you 
speak of eloquence, Mr. Rutledge, of South Carolina, is by 
far the greatest orator ; but if you speak of solid information 
and sound judgment, Colonel Washington is unquestionably 
the greatest man on that floor." 

How thoroughly and zealously he participated in the feel- 
ings which actuated Congress in this memorable session, may 
be gathered from his correspondence with a friend enlisted 

* Letter to William Tudor, 29th Sept., 1774. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 385 

in the royal cause. This was Captain Robert Mackenzie, 
who had formerly served under him in his Virginia regiment 
during the French war, but now held a commission in the 
regular army, and was stationed among the British troops 
at Boston. 

Mackenzie, in a letter, had spoken with loyal abhorrence 
of the state of affairs in the " unhappy province" of Massa- 
chusetts, and the fixed aim of its inhabitants at "total inde- 
pendence.!' "The rebellious and numerous meetings of men 
in arms," said he, "their scandalous and ungenerous attacks 
upon the best characters in the province, obliging them to 
save themselves by flight, and their repeated, but feeble 
threats, to dispossess the troops, have furnished sufficient 
reasons to General Gage to put the town in a formidable 
state of defense, about which we are now fully employed, 
and which will be shortly accomplished to their great mor- 

"Permit me," writes Washington in reply, "with the 
freedom of a friend (for you know I always esteemed you), 
to express my sorrow that fortune should place you in a ser- 
vice that must fix curses, to the latest posterity, upon the 
contrivers, and, if success (which, by the bye, is impossible) 
accompanies it, execrations upon all those who have been 
instrumental in the execution, » 8 "When you condemn 
the conduct ot the Massachusetts people, you reason from 
effects, not causes, otherwise you would not wonder at a 
people, who are every day receiving fresh proofs of a system- 
atic assertion of an arbitrary power, deeply planned to over- 
turn the laws and constitution of their country, and to vio 
late the most essential and valuable rights of mankind, being 
irritated, and with difficulty restrained from acts of the 

greatest violence and intemperance. 

* * * Q— Vol. XII. 

386 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Irvip$ 

"For my own part, I view things in a very different point 
of light from the one in which you seem to consider them ; 
and though you are led to believe, by venal men, that the 
people of Massachusetts are rebellious, setting up for inde- 
pendency, and what not, give me leave, my good friend, to 

tell you that you are abused, grossly abused I think 

I can announce it as a fact, that it is not the wish or interest 
of that government, or any other upon this continent, sepa- 
rately or collectively, to set up for independence; but this 
you may at the same time rely on, that none of them will 
ever submit to the loss of their valuable rights and privi- 
leges, which are essential to the happiness of every free 
state, and without which life, liberty and property are 
rendered totally insecure. 

"These, sir, being certain consequences, which must 
naturally result from the late acts of Parliament relative to 
America in general, and the government of Massachusetts 
in particular, is it to be wondered at that men who wish to 
avert the impending blow should attempt to oppose its prog- 
ress, or prepare for their defense, if it cannot be avoided? 
Surely I may be allowed to answer in the negative; and give 
me leave to add, as my opinion, that more blood will be 
spilled on this occasion, if the ministry are determined to 
push matters to extremity, than history has ever yet fur- 
nished instances of in the annals of North America; and 
such a vital wound will be given to the peace of this great 
country as time itself cannot cure, or eradicate the remem- 
brance of." 

In concluding, he repeats his views with respect to inde- 
pendence : 4 ' I am well satisfied that no such thing is desired 
by any thinking man in all North America; on the contrary, 
that it is the ardent wish of the warmest advocates for 



(Fac-Simile of a Pencil Drawing from Life by Colonel J. Trumbull.) 

Irving, Vol. Twelve, p. 399. 

Cife of U/a8t>ii?<$toi) 387 

liberty, that peace and tranquillity, upon constitutional 
grounds, may be restored, and the horrors of civil discord 
prevented." * 

This letter we have considered especially worthy of cita- 
tion, from its being so full and explicit a declaration of 
Washington's sentiments and opinions at this critical junc- 
ture. His views on the question of independence are par- 
ticularly noteworthy, from his being at this time in daily and 
confidential communication with the leaders of the popular 
movement, and among them with the delegates from Boston. 
It is evident that the filial feeling still throbbed toward the 
mother country, and a complete separation from her had not 
yet entered into the alternatives of her colonial children. 

On the breaking up of Congress, Washington hastened 
back to Mount Vernon, where his presence was more than 
usually important to the happiness of Mrs. Washington, 
from the loneliness caused by the recent death of her daugh- 
ter, and the absence of her son. The cheerfulness of the 
neighborhood had been diminished of late by the departure 
of George William Fairfax for England, to take possession 
of estates which had devolved to him in that kingdom. His 
estate of Belvoir, so closely allied with that of Mount Vernon 
by family ties and reciprocal hospitality, was left in charge 
of a steward, or overseer. Through some accident the house 
took fire, and was burned to the ground. It was never re- 
built. The course of political events which swept Washing- 
ton from his quiet home into the current of public and mili- 
tary life, prevented William Fairfax, who was a royalist, 
though a liberal one, from returning to his once happy abode, 
and the hospitable intercommunion of Mount Vernon and 
Belvoir was at an end forever. 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. ii., p. 899. 

388 U/or^s of U/asl?ir}<$toi) Irvir}$ 


Gage's Military Measures — Removal of Gunpowder from the Arsenal 
— Public Agitation — Alarms in the Country — Civil Government 
obstructed — Belligerent Symptoms — IsraeJ Putnam and Gen- 
eral Charles Lee, their Characters and Stories — General Elec- 
tion — Self - constituted Congress — Hancock President — Adjourns 
to Concord — Remonstrance to Gage — His Perplexities— Gen- 
erals Artemas Ward and Seth Pomeroy — Committee of Safety 
— Committee of Supplies — Restlessness throughout the Land — 
Independent Companies in Virginia — Military Tone at Mount 
Vernon — Washington's Military Guests— Major Horatio Gates 
— Anecdotes concerning him — General Charles Lee — His Pe- 
culiarities and Dogs — Washington at the Richmond Conven- 
tion — War Speech of Patrick Henry — Washington's Military 

The rumor of the cannonading of Boston, which had 
thrown such a gloom over the religious ceremonial at the 
opening of Congress, had been caused by measures of Gov- 
ernor Gage. The public mind, in Boston and its vicinity, 
had been rendered excessively jealous and sensitive by the 
landing and encamping of artillery upon the Common, and 
"Welsh Fusiliers on Fort Hill, and by the planting of four 
large field -pieces on Boston Neck, the only entrance to the 
town by land. The country people were arming and dis- 
ciplining themselves in every direction, and collecting and 
depositing arms and ammunition in places where they would 
be at hand in case of emergency. Gage, on the other hand, 
issued orders that the munitions of war in all the public 

Cife of U/asl?ir)$ton 389 

magazines should be brought to Boston. One of these maga- 
zines was the arsenal in the northwest part of Charlestown, 
between Medford and Cambridge. Two companies of the 
king's troops passed. silently in boats up Mystic River in the 
night; took possession of a large quantity of gunpowder 
deposited there, and conveyed it to Castle "Williams. Intelli- 
gence of this sacking of the arsenal flew with lightning speed 
through the neighborhood. In the morning several thou- 
sands of patriots were assembled at Cambridge, weapon in 
hand, and were with difficulty prevented from marching 
upon Boston to compel restitution of the powder. In the 
confusion and agitation, a rumor stole out into the country 
that Boston was to be attacked ; followed by another that 
the ships were cannonading the town, and the soldiers shoot- 
ing down the inhabitants. The whole country was forth- 
with in arms. Numerous bodies of the Connecticut people 
had made some marches before the report was contradicted.* 

To guard against any irruption from the country, Gage 
encamped the 59th regiment on Boston Neck and employed 
the soldiers in intrenching and fortifying it. 

In the meantime the belligerent feelings of the inhabitants 
were encouraged, by learning how the rumor of their being 
cannonaded had been received in the General Congress, and 
by assurances from all parts that the cause of Boston would 
be made the common cause of America. "It is surprising," 
writes General Gage, "that so many of the other provinces 
interest themselves so much in this. They have some warm 
friends in New York, and I learn that the people of Charles- 
ton, South Carolina, are as mad as they are here." f 

* Holmes's Annals, ii. 191. — Letter of Gage to Lord 

f Gage to Dartmouth, Sept. 20. 

390 U/orl^s of U/as^iQ^top Iruip^ 

The commissions had arrived for those civil officers ap- 
pointed by the crown under the new modifications of the 
charter; many, however, were afraid to accept them. Those 
who did soon resigned, finding it impossible to withstand the 
odium of the people. The civil government throughout the 
province became obstructed in all its operations. It was 
enough for a man to be supposed of the governmental party 
to incur popular ill-will. 

Among other portentous signs, war-hawks began to ap- 
pear above the horizon. Mrs. Cushing, wife to a member 
of Congress, writes to her husband, "Two of the greatest 
military characters of the day are visiting this distressed 
town. General Charles Lee, who has served in Poland, and 
Colonel Israel Putnam, whose bravery and character need 
no description." As these two men will take a prominent 
part in coming events, we pause to give a word or two con- 
cerning them. 

Israel Putnam was a soldier of native growth. One of 
the military productions of the French war; seasoned and 
proved in frontier campaigning. He had served at Louis- 
burg, Fort Duquesne, and Crown Point ; had signalized him- 
self in Indian warfare ; been captured by the savages, tied 
to a stake to be tortured and burned, and had only been 
rescued by the interference, at the eleventh hour, of a French 
partisan of the Indians. 

Since the peace, he had returned to agricultural life, and 
was now a farmer at Pomfret, in Connecticut, where the 
scars of his wounds and the tales of his exploits rendered him 
a hero in popular estimation. The war spirit yet burned 
within him. He was now chairman of a committee of vigi- 
lance, and had come to Boston in discharge of his political 
and semi-belligerent functions. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$t09 391 

General Charles Lee was a military man of a different 
stamp; an Englishman by birth, and a highly cultivated 
production of European warfare. He was the son of a Brit- 
ish officer, Lieutenant-colonel John Lee, of the dragoons, 
who married the daughter of Sir Henry Bunbury, Bart., and 
afterward rose to be a general. Lee was born in 1731, and 
may almost be said to have been cradled in the army, for 
he received a commission by the time he was eleven years 
of age. He had an irregular education ; part of the time in 
England, part on the Continent, and must have scrambled 
his way into knowledge; yet by aptness, diligence, and 
ambition, he had acquired a considerable portion, being a 
Greek and Latin scholar, and acquainted with modern lan- 
guages. The art of war was his especial study from his 
boyhood, and he had early opportunities of practical experi- 
ence. At the age of twenty-four he commanded a company 
of grenadiers in the 44th regiment, and served in the French 
war in America, where he was brought into military com- 
panionship with Sir William Johnson's Mohawk warriors, 
whom he used to extol for their manly beauty, their dress, 
their graceful carriage, and good-breeding. In fact, he ren- 
dered himself so much of a favorite among them that they 
admitted him to smoke in their councils, and adopted him 
into the tribe of the Bear, giving him an Indian name sig- 
nifying "Boiling Water.' ' 

At the battle of Ticonderoga, where Abercrombie was 
defeated, he was shot through the body, while leading his 
men against the French breastworks. In the next cam- 
paign, he was present at the siege of Fort Niagara, where 
General Prideaux fell, and where Sir William Johnson, with 
his British troops and Mohawk warriors, eventually won the 
fortress. Lee had, perhaps, an opportunity on this occasion 

392 U/orK* of U/asl?in$ton Irvioo; 

of fighting side by side with some of his adopted brethren of 
the Bear tribe, as we are told he was much exposed during 
the engagement with the French and Indians, and that two 
balls grazed his hair. A military errand, afterward, took 
him across Lake Erie, and down the northern branch of the 
Ohio to Fort Duquesne, and thence by a long march of seven 
hundred miles to Crown Point, where he joined General 
Amherst. In 1760, he was among the forces which followed 
that general from Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence ; and 
was present at the surrender of Montreal, which completed 
the conquest of Canada. 

In 1762, he bore a colonel's commission, and served under 
Brigadier-general Burgoyne in Portugal, where he was in- 
trusted with an enterprise against a Spanish post at the old 
Moorish castle of Villa Velha, on the banks of the Tagus. 
He forded the river in the night, pushed his way through 
mountain passes, and at two o'clock in the morning rushed 
with his grenadiers into the enemy's camp before daylight, 
where everything was carried at the point of the bayonet, 
assisted by a charge of dragoons. The war over, he returned 
to England, bearing testimonials of bravery and good con- 
duct from his commander-in-chief, the Count de la Lippe, 
and from the king of Portugal.* 

Wielding the pen as well as the sword, Lee undertook to 
write on questions of colonial policy relative to Pontiac's 
war, in which he took the opposition side. This lost him 
the favor of the ministry, and with it all hope of further 

He now determined to offer his services to Poland, sup- 
posed to be on the verge of a war. Recommendations from 

* Life of Charles Lee, by Jared Sparks. Also, Memoirs 
of Charles Lee; published in London, 1792. 

Cife of U/ast?ir}<$tor) 393 

his old commander, the Count de la Lippe, procured him 
access to some of the continental courts. He was well re- 
ceived by Frederick the Great, and had several conversa- 
tions with him, chiefly on American affairs. At Warsaw, 
his military reputation secured him the favor of Poniatow- 
sky, recently elected king of Poland, with the name of 
Stanislaus Augustus, who admitted him to his table, and 
made him one of his aides-de-camp. Lee was disappointed 
in his hope of active service. There was agitation in the 
country, but the power of the king was not adequate to raise 
forces sufficient for its suppression. He had few troops, and 
those not trustworthy ; and the town was full of the dis- 
affected. "We have frequent alarms," said Lee, "and the 
pleasure of sleeping every night with our pistols on our 

By way of relieving his restlessness, Lee, at the sugges- 
tion of the king, set off to accompany the Polish embassador 
to Constantinople. The latter traveled too slow for him ; so 
he dashed ahead when on the frontiers of Turkey, with an 
escort of the grand seignior's treasure; came near perishing 
with cold and hunger among the Bulgarian Mountains, and 
after his arrival at the Turkish capital ran a risk of being 
buried under the ruins of his house in an earthquake. 

Late in the same year (1766), he was again in England, 
an applicant for military appointment, bearing a letter from 
King Stanislaus to King George. His meddling pen is sup- 
posed again to have marred his fortunes, having indulged 
in sarcastic comments on the military character of General 
Townshend and Lord George Sackville. "I am not at all 
surprised," said a friend to him, "that you find the door 
shut against you by a person who has such unbounded credit, 
as you have ever too freely indulged in a liberty of declaim- 

394 U/orl{8 of U/asl?ir)$toi) Irufr>$ 

ing, which many invidious persons have not failed to inform 
him of. The principle on which you thus freely speak your 
mind is honest and patriotic, but not politic." 

The disappointments which Lee met with during a resi- 
dence of two years in England, and a protracted attendance 
on people in power, rankled in his bosom, and imbittered his 
subsequent resentment against the king and his ministers. 

In 1768, he was again on his way to Poland, with the 
design of performing a campaign in the Russian service. "I 
flatter myself," said he, "that a little more practice will 
make me a good soldier. If not, it will serve to talk over 
my kitchen fire in my old age, which will soon come upon 
us all." 

He now looked forward to [spirited service. "I am to 
have a command of Cossacks and Wallacks," writes he, "a 
kind of people I have a good opinion of. I am determined 
not to serve in the line. One might as well be a church- 

The friendship of King Stanislaus continued. "He treats 
me more like a brother than a patron," said Lee. In 1769, 
the latter was raised to the rank of major-general in the 
Polish army, and left Warsaw to join the Russian force, 
which was crossing the Dniester and advancing into Mol- 
davia. He arrived in time to take part in a severe action 
between the Russians and Turks, in which the Cossacks and 
hussars were terribly cut up by the Turkish cavalry, in a 
ravine near the city of Chotzim. It was a long and doubtful 
conflict, with various changes; but the rumored approach 
of the grand vizier, with a hundred and seventy thousand 
men, compelled the Russians to abandon the enterprise and 
recross the Dniester. 

Lee never returned to Poland, though he ever retained 

Cife of U/a8l?ii}$t09 395 

a devoted attachment to Stanislaus. He for some time led 
a restless life about Europe — visiting Italy, Sicily, Malta, 
and the south of Spain ; troubled with attacks of rheumatism, 
gout, and the effects of a " Hungarian fever." He had be- 
come more and more cynical and irascible, and had more 
than one " affair of honor," in one of which he killed his 
antagonist. His splenetic feelings, as well as his political 
sentiments, were occasionally vented in severe attacks upon 
the ministry, full of irony and sarcasm. They appeared in 
the public journals, and gained him such reputation that even 
the papers of Junius were by some attributed to him. 

In the questions which had risen between England and 
her colonies, he had strongly advocated the cause of the 
latter; and it was the feelings thus excited, and the recol- 
lections, perhaps, of his early campaigns, that had recently 
brought him to America. Here he had arrived in the latter 
part of 1773, had visited various parts of Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, and Virginia, taking an active part in the politi- 
cal agitations of the country. His caustic attacks upon the 
ministry; his conversational powers and his poignant sallies, 
had gained him great reputation; but his military renown 
rendered him especially interesting at the present juncture. 
A general who had served in the famous campaigns of 
Europe, commanded Cossacks, fought with Turks, talked 
with Frederick the Great, and been aid-de-camp to the king 
of Poland, was a prodigious acquisition to the patriot cause! 
On the other hand, his visit to Boston was looked upon with 
uneasiness by the British officers, who knew his adventurous 
character. It was surmised that he was exciting a spirit of 
revolt, with a view to putting himself at its head. These 
suspicions found their way into the London papers, and 
alarmed the British cabinet. "Have an attention to his 

396 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Irvir)<$ 

conduct," writes Lord Dartmouth to Gage, "and take every 
legal method to prevent his effecting any of those dangerous 
purposes he is said to have in view." 

Lee, when subsequently informed of these suspicions, 
scoffed at them in a letter to his friend Edmund Burke, 
and declared that he had not the "temerity and vanity" to 
aspire to the aims imputed to him. 

"To think myself qualified for the most important charge 
that ever was committed to mortal man," writes he, "is the 
last stage of presumption ; nor do I think the Americans 
would or ought to confide in a man, let his qualifications 
be ever so great, who has no property among them. It i g 
true, I most devoutly wish them success in the glorious 
struggle ; that I have expressed my wishes both in writing 
and viva voce; but my errand to Boston was mere curiosity 
to see a people in so singular circumstances; and I had like- 
wise an ambition to be acquainted with some of their lead- 
ing men; with them only I associated during my stay in 
Boston. Our ingenious gentlemen in the camp, therefore, 
very naturally concluded my design was to put myself at 
their head." 

To resume the course of events at Boston. Gage, on the 
1st of September, before this popular agitation, had issued 
writs for an election of an Assembly to meet at Salem in 
October; seeing, however, the irritated state of the public 
mind, he now countermanded the same by proclamation. 
The people, disregarding the countermand, carried the elec- 
tion, and ninety of the new members thus elected met at the 
appointed time. They waited a whole day for the governor 
to attend, administer the oaths, and open the session ; but as 
he did not make his appearance, they voted themselves a 
provincial Congress, and chose for president of it John Han- 

Clfe of ltfasl?ii)$toi) 397 

cock — a man of great wealth, popular, and somewhat showy 
talents, and ardent patriotism ; and eminent from his social 

This self -constituted body adjourned to Concord, about 
twenty miles from Boston; quietly assumed supreme author- 
ity, and issued a remonstrance to the governor, virtually 
calling him to account for his military operations in fortify- 
ing Boston Neck, and collecting warlike stores about him, 
thereby alarming the fears of the whole province, and menac- 
ing the lives and property of the Bostonians. 

General Gage, overlooking the irregularity of its organi- 
zation, entered into explanations with the Assembly, but 
failed to give satisfaction. 

As winter approached, he found his situation more and 
more critical. Boston was the only place in Massachusetts 
that now contained British forces, and it had become the 
refuge of all the "tories" of the province; that is to say, of 
all those devoted to the British government. There was 
animosity between them and the principal inhabitants, 
among whom revolutionary principles prevailed. The town 
itself, almost insulated by nature, and surrounded by a hos- 
tile country, was like a place besieged. 

The provincial Congress conducted its affairs with the 
order and system so formidable to General Gage. Having 
adopted a plan for organizing the militia, it had nominated 
general officers, two of whom, Artemas "Ward and Seth 
Pomeroy, had accepted. 

The executive powers were vested in a committee of 
safety. This was to determine when the services of the 
militia were necessary ; was to call them forth — to nominate 
their officers to the Congress — to commission them, and di- 
rect the operations of the army. Another committee was 

398 U/orKs of U/a8l?ip$toi} Iruir)<$ 

appointed to furnish supplies to the forces when called out ; 
hence, named the Committee of Supplies. 

Under such auspices the militia went on arming and dis- 
ciplining itself in every direction. They associated them- 
selves in large bodies, and engaged, verbally or by writing, 
to assemble in arms at the shortest notice for the common 
defense, subject to the orders of the committee of safety. 

Arrangements had been made for keeping up an active 
correspondence between different parts of the country, and 
spreading an alarm in case of any threatening danger. Un- 
der the direction of the committees just mentioned, large 
quantities of military stores had been collected and de- 
posited at Concord and Worcester. 

This semi-belligerent state of affairs in Massachusetts 
produced a general restlessness throughout the land. The 
weak-hearted apprehended coming troubles ; the resolute pre- 
pared to brave them. Military measures, hitherto confined 
to New England, extended to the middle and southern prov- 
inces, and the roll of the drum resounded through the villages. 

Virginia was among the first to buckle on its armor. It 
had long been a custom among its inhabitants to form them- 
selves into independent companies, equipped at their own ex- 
, pense, having their own peculiar uniform, and electing their 
own officers, though holding themselves subject to militia 
law. They had hitherto been self -disciplined; but now they 
continually resorted to Washington for instructions and ad- 
vice; considering him the highest authority on military 
affairs. He was frequently called from home, therefore, 
in the course of the winter and spring, to different parts of 
the country to review independent companies; all of which 
were anxious to put themselves under his command as field- 

Cife of U/asl?in$t:on 399 

Mount Vernon, therefore, again assumed a military tone 
as in former days, when he took his first lessons there in the 
art of war. He had his old campaigning associates with him 
occasionally, Dr. Craik and Captain Hugh Mercer, to talk 
of past scenes and discuss the possibility of future service. 
Mercer was already bestirring himself in disciplining the 
militia about Fredericksburg, where he resided. 

Two occasional and important guests at Mount Vernon, 
in this momentous crisis, were General Charles Lee, of whom 
we have just spoken, and Major Horatio Gates. As the lat- 
ter is destined to occupy an important page in this memoir, 
we will give a few particulars concerning him. He was an 
Englishman by birth, the son of a captain in the British 
army. Horace Walpole, whose Christian name he bore, 
speaks of him in one of his letters as his god-son, though 
some have insinuated that he stood in filial relationship of a 
less sanctified character. He had received a liberal educa- 
tion, and when but twenty-one years of age had served as a 
volunteer under General Edward Cornwallis, Governor of 
Halifax. He was afterward captain of a New York inde- 
pendent company, with which, it may be remembered, he 
marched in the campaign of Braddock, in which he was 
severely wounded. For two or three subsequent years he 
was with his company in the western part of the province 
of New York, receiving the appointment of brigade-major. 
He accompanied General Monckton as aid-de-camp to the 
West Indies, and gained credit at the capture of Martinico. 
Being dispatched to London with tidings of the victory, he 
was rewarded by the appointment of major to a regiment of 
foot ; and afterward, as a special mark of royal favor, a ma- 
jority in the Royal Americans. His promotion did not equal 
his expectations and fancied deserts. He was married, and 

400 U/or^s of U/asl?in<$ton Iruino; 

wanted something more lucrative ; so he sold out on half -pay 
and became an applicant for some profitable post finder gov- 
ernment, which he hoped to obtain through the influence 
of General Monckton and some friends in the aristocracy. 
Thus several years were passed, partly with his family in 
retirement, partly in London, paying court to patrons and 
men in power, until, finding there was no likelihood of suc- 
cess, and having sold his commission and half -pay, he emi- 
grated to Virginia in 1772, a disappointed man; purchased 
an estate in Berkeley County, beyond the Blue Ridge; 
espoused the popular cause, and renewed his old campaign- 
ing acquaintance with Washington. 

He was now about forty-six years of age, of a florid com- 
plexion and goodly presence, though a little inclined to cor- 
pulency; social, insinuating, and somewhat specious in his 
manners, with a strong degree of self -approbation. A long 
course of solicitation; haunting public offices and ante- 
chambers, and "knocking about town," had taught him, it 
was said, how to wheedle and flatter, and accommodate him- 
self to the humors of others, so as to be the boon companion 
of gentlemen, and "hail fellow well met" with the vulgar. 

Lee, who was an old friend and former associate in arms, 
had recently been induced by him to purchase an estate in 
his neighborhood in Berkeley County, with a view to mak- 
ing it his abode, having a moderate competency, a claim to 
land on the Ohio* and the half-pay of a British colonel. 
Both of these officers, disappointed in the British service, 
looked forward probably to greater success in the patriot 

Lee had been at Philadelphia since his visit to Boston, 
and had made himself acquainted with the leading members 
of Congress during the session. He was evidently cultivat- 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) 401 

ing an intimacy with every one likely to have influence in 
the approaching struggle. 

To Washington the visits of these gentlemen were ex- 
tremely welcome at this juncture, from their military knowl- 
edge and experience, especially as much of it had been 
acquired in America, in the same kind of warfare, if not the 
very same campaigns in which he himself had mingled. 
Both were interested in the popular cause. Lee was full of 
plans for the organization and disciplining of the militia, and 
occasionally accompanied Washington in his attendance on 
provincial reviews. He was subsequently very efficient at 
Annapolis in promoting and superintending the organization 
of the Maryland militia. 

It is doubtful whether the visits of Lee were as interest- 
ing to Mrs. Washington as to the general. He was whimsi- 
cal, eccentric, and at times almost rude ; negligent also, and 
slovenly in person and attire ; for though he had occasionally 
associated with kings and princes, he had also campaigned 
with Mohawks and Cossacks, and seems to have relished 
their "good breeding.' ' What was still more annoying in 
a well-regulated mansion, he was always followed by a 
legion of dogs, which shared his affections with his horses, 
and took their seats by him when at table. "I must have 
some object to embrace," said he, misanthropically. "When 
I can be convinced that men are as worthy objects as dogs, 
I shall transfer my benevolence, and become as stanch a 
philanthropist as the canting Addison affected to be." * 

In his passion for horses and dogs, Washington, to a cer- 
tain degree, could sympathize with him, and had noble speci- 
mens of both, in his stable and kennel, which Lee doubtless 

* Lee to Adams. Life and Works of Adams, ii. 414. 

402 U/orl^s of U/asbip^toi) Iruii>$ 

inspected with a learned eye. During the season in ques- 
tion, Washington, according to his diary, was occasionally 
in the saddle at an early hour following the fox-hounds. It 
was the last time for many a year that he was to gallop 
about his beloved hunting-grounds of Mount Vernon and 

In the month of March the second Virginia convention 
was held at Richmond. Washington attended as delegate 
from Fairfax County. In this assembly, Patrick Henry, 
with his usual ardor and eloquence, advocated measures for 
embodying, arming, and disciplining a militia force, and 
providing for the defense of the colony. "It is useless," 
said he, "to address further petitions to government, or to 
await the effect of those already addressed to the throne. 
The time for supplication is past; the time for action is at 
hand. We must fight, Mr. Speaker," exclaimed he, em- 
phatically; "I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to 
arms, and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!" 

Washington joined him in the conviction, and was one of 
a committee that reported a plan for carrying those measures 
into effect. He was not an impulsive man to raise the bat- 
tle-cry, but the executive man to marshal the troops into the 
field, and carry on the war. 

His brother, John Augustine, was raising and disciplin- 
ing an independent company ; Washington offered to accept 
the command of it, should occasion require it to be drawn 
out. He did the same with respect to an independent com- 
pany at Richmond. "It is my full intention, if needful," 
writes he to his brother, "to devote my life and fortune to 
the cause" * 

* Letter to John Augustine. Sparks, ii. 405, 

Cife of U/as^ip^top 403 


Infatuation in British Councils — Col. Grant, the Braggart — Coercive 
Measures Expedition against the Military Magazine at Con- 
cord — Battle of Lexington — The Cry of Blood through the Land 
— Old Soldiers of the French War — John Stark — Israel Putnam 
— Rising of the Yeomanry — Measures of Lord Dunmore in Vir- 
ginia — Indignation of the Virginians — Hugh Mercer and the 
Friends of Liberty — Arrival of the News of Lexington at Mount 
Vernon —Effect on Bryan Fairfax, Gates, and Washington 

While the spirit of revolt was daily gaining strength 
and determination in America, a strange infatuation reigned 
in the British councils. While the wisdom and eloquence of 
Chatham were exerted in vain in behalf of American rights, 
an empty braggadocio, elevated to a seat in Parliament, was 
able to captivate the attention of the members, and influence 
their votes by gross misrepresentations of the Americans and 
their cause. This was no other than Colonel Grant, the same 
shallow soldier who, exceeding his instructions, had been 
guilty of a foolhardy bravado before the walls of Fort Du- 
quesne, which brought slaughter and defeat upon his troops. 
From misleading the army, he was now promoted to a sta- 
tion where he might mislead the councils of his country. 
We are told that he entertained Parliament, especially the 
ministerial side of the House, with ludicrous stories of the 
cowardice of Americans. He had served with them, he said, 
and knew them well, and would venture to say they would 
never dare to face an English army; that they were destitute 

404 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$tor) Irving 

of every requisite to make good soldiers, and that a very 
slight force would be sufficient for their complete reduction. 
With five regiments, he could march through all America! 

How often has England been misled, to her cost, by such 
slanderous misrepresentations of the American character! 
Grant talked of having served with the Americans; had he 
already forgotten that in the field of Braddock's defeat, when 
the British regulars fled, it was alone the desperate stand 
of a handful of Virginians which covered their disgraceful 
flight, and saved them from being overtaken and massacred 
by the savages? 

This taunting and braggart speech of Grant was made 
in the face of the conciliatory bill of the venerable Chatham, 
devised with a view to redress the wrongs of America. The 
councils of the arrogant and scornful prevailed ; and instead 
of the proposed bill, further measures of a stringent nature 
were adopted, coercive of some of the middle and south- 
ern colonies, but ruinous to the trade and fisheries of New 

At length the bolt, so long suspended, fell ! The troops 
at Boston had been augmented to about four thousand men. 
Goaded on by the instigations of the tories, and alarmed by 
the energetic measures of the whigs, General Gage now re- 
solved to deal the latter a crippling blow. This was to sur- 
prise and destroy their magazine of military stores at Con- 
cord, about twenty miles from Boston. It was to be effected 
on the night of the 18th of April, by a force detached for the 

Preparations were made with great secrecy. Boats for 
the transportation of the troops were launched, and moored 
under the sterns of the men-of-war. Grenadiers and light 
infantry were relieved from duty and held in readiness. On 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)<$toi) 405 

the 18th, officers were stationed on the roads leading from 
Boston, to prevent any intelligence of the expedition getting 
into the country. At night orders were issued by General 
Gage that no person should leave the town. About ten 
o'clock, from eight to nine hundred men, grenadiers, light 
infantry, and marines, commanded by Lieutenant-colonel 
Smith, embarked in the boats to the foot of Boston Com- 
mon, and crossed to Lechmere Point, in Cambridge, whence 
they were to march silently, and without beat of drum, to 
the place of destination. 

The measures of General Gage had not been shrouded in 
all the secrecy he imagined. Mystery often defeats itself by 
the suspicions it awakens. Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the 
committee of safety, had observed the preparatory disposi- 
tion of the boats and troops, and surmised some sinister in • 
tention. He sent notice of these movements to John Han- 
cock and Samuel Adams, both members of the provincial 
Congress, but at that time privately sojourning with a friend 
at Lexington. A design on the magazine at Concord was 
suspected, and the committee of safety ordered that the can- 
non collected there should be secreted, and part of the stores 

On the night of the 18th, Dr. Warren sent off two mes- 
sengers by different routes to give the alarm that the king's 
troops were actually sallying forth. The messengers got out 
of Boston just before the order of General Gage went into 
effect, to prevent any one from leaving the town. About 
the same time a lantern was hung out of an upper window 
of the north church, in the direction of Charlestown. This 
was a preconcerted signal to the patriots of that place, 
who instantly dispatched quick messengers to rouse the 

406 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) IruiQ$ 

In the meantime, Colonel Smith set out on his nocturnal 
march from Lechmere Point, by an unfrequented path across 
marshes, where at times the troops had to wade through 
water. He had proceeded but a few miles when alarm guns, 
booming through the night air, and the clang of village bells, 
showed that the news of his approach was traveling before 
him, and the people were rising. He now sent back to Gen- 
eral Gage for a re-enforcement, while Major Pitcairne was 
detached with six companies to press forward, and secure the 
bridges at Concord. 

Pitcairne advanced rapidly, capturing every one that he 
met, or overtook. Within a mile and a half of Lexington, 
however, a horseman was too quick on the spur for him, and 
galloping to the village, gave the alarm that the redcoats 
were coming. Drums were beaten; guns fired. By the 
time that Pitcarine entered the village, about seventy or 
eighty of the yeomanry, in military array, were mustered 
on the green near the church. It was a part of the " con- 
stitutional army," pledged to resist by force any open hostil- 
ity of British troops. Besides these, there were a number of 
lookers-on, armed and unarmed. 

The sound of drum, and the array of men in arms, indi- 
cated a hostile determination. Pitcairne halted his men 
within a short distance of the church, and ordered them to 
prime and load. They then advanced at double quick time. 
The major, riding forward, waved his sword, and ordered 
the rebels, as he termed them, to disperse. Other of the 
officers echoed his words as they advanced : 6i Disperse, ye 
villains! Lay down your arms, ye rebels, and disperse!" 
The orders were disregarded. A scene of confusion ensued, 
with firing on both sides; which party commenced it has 
been a matter of dispute. Pitcairne always maintained that, 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 407 

finding the militia would not disperse, he turned to order his 
men to draw out, and surround them, when he saw a flash 
in the pan from a gun of a countryman posted behind a wall, 
and almost instantly the report of two or three muskets. 
These he supposed to be from the Americans, as his horse 
was wounded, as was also a soldier close by him. His troops 
rushed on, and a promiscuous fire took place, though, as he 
declared, he made repeated signals with his sword for his 
men to forbear. 

The firing of the Americans was irregular, and without 
much effect; that of the British was more fatal. Eight of 
the patriots were killed, and ten wounded, and the whole put 
to flight. The victors formed on the common, fired a volley, 
and gave three cheers for one of the most inglorious and dis- 
astrous triumphs ever achieved by British arms. 

Colonel Smith soon arrived with the residue of the de- 
tachment, and they all marched on toward Concord, about 
six miles distant. 

The alarm had reached that place in the dead hour of the 
preceding night. The church bell roused the inhabitants. 
They gathered together in anxious consultation. The militia 
and minute men seized their arms and repaired to the parade 
ground, near the church. Here they were subsequently 
joined by armed yeomanry from Lincolon and elsewhere. 
Exertions were now made to remove and conceal the mili- 
tary stores. A scout, who had been sent out for intelli- 
gence, brought word that the British had fired upon the peo- 
ple at Lexington, and were advancing upon Concord. There 
was great excitement and indignation. Part of the militia 
marched down the Lexington road to meet them, but re- 
turned, reporting their force to be three times that of the 
Americans. The whole of the militia now retired to an emi- 

408 U/orks of U/asl?ii)<$ton Irvipo; 

nence about a mile from the center of the town, and formed 
themselves into two battalions. 

About seven o'clock the British came in sight, advancing 
with quick step, their arms glittering in the morning sun. 
They entered in two divisions by different roads. Concord is 
traversed by a river of the same name, having two bridges, 
the north and the south. The grenadiers and light infantry 
took post in the center of the town, while strong parties of 
light troops were detached to secure the bridges and destroy 
the military stores. Two hours were expended in the work 
of destruction without much success, so much of the stores 
having been removed or concealed. During all this time 
the yeomanry from the neighboring towns were hurrying in 
with such weapons as were at hand, and joining the militia 
on the height, until the little cloud of war gathering there 
numbered about four hundred and fifty. About ten o'clock, 
a body of three hundred undertook to dislodge the British 
from the north bridge. As they approached, the latter fired 
upon them, killing two and wounding a third. The patriots 
returned the fire with spirit and effect. The British re- 
treated to the main body, the Americans pursuing them 
across the bridge. 

By this time all the military stores which could be found 
had been destroyed ; Colonel Smith, therefore, made prepara- 
tions for a retreat. The scattered troops were collected, the 
dead were buried, and conveyances procured for the wounded. 
About noon he commenced his retrograde march for Boston. 
It was high time. His troops were jaded by the night march 
and the morning's toils and skirmishings. 

The countr^ was thoroughly alarmed. The yeomanry 
were hurrying *rom every quarter to the scene of action. 
As the British began their retreat, the Americans began the 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 409 

work of sore and galling retaliation. Along the open road, 
the former were harassed incessantly by rustic marksmen, 
who took deliberate aim from behind trees, or over stone 
fences. Where the road passed through woods, the British 
found themselves between two fires dealt by unseen foes, the 
minute men having posted themselves on each side among 
the bushes. It was in vain they threw out flankers and en- 
deavored to dislodge their assailants; each pause gave time 
for other pursuers to come within reach, and open attacks 
from different quarters. For several miles they urged their 
way along woody defiles, or roads skirted with fences and 
stone walls, the retreat growing more and more disastrous; 
some were shot down, some gave out through mere exhaus- 
tion; the rest hurried on, without stopping to aid the fatigued 
or wounded. Before reaching Lexington, Colonel Smith re- 
ceived a severe wound in the leg, and the situation of the 
retreating troops was becoming extremely critical, when, 
about two o'clock, they were met by Lord Percy, with a 
brigade of one thousand men, and two field-pieces. His 
lordship had been detached from Boston about nine o'clock 
by General Gage, in compliance with Colonel Smith's urgent 
call for re-enforcement, and had marched gayly through 
Roxbury to the tune of "Yankee Doodle," in derision of the 
"rebels." He now found the latter a more formidable foe 
than he had anticipated. Opening his brigade to the right 
and left, he received the retreating troops into a hollow 
square; where, fainting and exhausted, they threw them- 
selves on the ground to rest. His lordship showed no dis- 
position to advance upon their assailants, but contented him- 
self with keeping them at bay with his field-pieces, which 
opened a vigorous fire from an eminence. 

Hitherto the provincials, being hasty levies, without a 

***R— Vol. XII. 

410 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii}$toi} Iruir?^ 

leader, had acted from individual impulse, without much 
concert; but now General Heath was upon the ground. He 
was one of those authorized to take the command when the 
minute men should be called out. That class of combatants 
promptly obeyed his orders, and he was efficacious in rallying 
them, and bringing them into military order, when checked 
and scattered by the fire of the field-pieces. 

Dr. "Warren, also, arrived on horseback, having spurred 
from Boston on receiving news of the skirmishing. In the 
subsequent part of the day, he was one of the most active 
and efficient men in the field. His presence, like that of 
General Heath, regulated the infuriated ardor of the militia, 
and brought it into system. 

Lord Percy, having allowed the troops a short interval 
for repose and refreshment, continued the retreat toward 
Boston. As soon as he got under march, the galling assault 
by the pursuing yeomanry was recommenced in flank and 
rear. The British soldiery, irritated in turn, acted as if in 
an enemy's country. Houses and shops were burned down 
in Lexington; private dwellings along the road were plun- 
dered, and their inhabitants maltreated. In one instance, 
an unoffending invalid was wantonly slain in his own house. 
All this increased the exasperation of the yeomanry. There 
was occasional sharp skirmishing, with bloodshed on both 
sides, but in general a dogged pursuit, where the retreating 
troops were galled at every step. Their march became more 
and more impeded by the number of their wounded. Lord 
Percy narrowly escaped death from a musket-ball, which 
struck off a button of his waistcoat. One of his officers re- 
mained behind wounded in West Cambridge. His ammuni- 
tion was failing as he approached Charlestown. The pro- 
vincials pressed upon him in the rear, others were advancing 


Irving, Vol. Twelve, p. 430. 

Cife of U/a8f?ii}$coi} 411 

from Roxbury, Dorchester, and Milton; Colonel Pickering, 
with the Essex militia, seven hundred strong, was at hand; 
there was danger of being intercepted in the retreat to 
Charlestown. The field-pieces were again brought into play, 
to check the ardor of the pursuit ; but they were no longer 
objects of terror. The sharpest firing of the provincials was 
near Prospect Hill, as the harassed enemy hurried along the 
Charlestown road, eager to reach the Neck and get under 
cover of their ships. The pursuit terminated a little after 
sunset, at Charlestown Common, where General Heath 
brought the minute men to a halt. "Within half an hour 
more, a powerful body of men from Marblehead and Salem, 
came up to join in the chase. "If the retreat," writes Wash- 
ington, "had not been as precipitate as it was — and God 
knows it could not well have been more so — the ministerial 
troops must have surrendered, or been totally cut off." 

The distant firing from the mainland had reached the 
British at Boston. The troops which, in the morning, had 
marched through Roxbury to the tune of Yankee Doodle, 
might have been seen at sunset, hounding along the old 
Cambridge road to Charlestown Neck, pursued by mere 
armed yeomanry. Gage was astounded at the catastrophe. 
It was but a short time previous that one of his officers, in 
writing to friends in England, scoffed at the idea of the 
Americans taking up arms. "Whenever it comes to blows," 
said he, "he that can run the fastest will think himself well 
off, believe me. Any two regiments here ought to be deci- 
mated if they did not beat in the field the whole force of the 
Massachusetts province." How frequently, throughout this 
Revolution, had the English to pay the penalty of thus un- 
dervaluing the spirit they were provoking! 

In this memorable affair, the British loss was seventy • 

412 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir>$toi) In/fr><$ 

three killed, one hundred and seventy-four wounded, and 
twenty-six missing. Among the slain were eighteen officers. 
The loss of the Americans was forty-nine killed, thirty-nine 
wounded, and five missing. This was the first blood shed in 
the Revolutionary struggle; a mere drop in amount, but a 
deluge in its effects — rending the colonies forever from the 
mother country. 

The cry of blood from the field of Lexington went through 
the land. None felt the appeal more than the old soldiers of 
the French war. It roused John Stark, of New Hampshire 
« — a trapper and hunter in his youth, a veteran in Indian 
warfare, a campaigner under Abercrombie and Amherst, 
now the military oracle of a rustic neighborhood. Within 
ten minutes after receiving the alarm, he was spurring to- 
ward the seacoast, and on the way stirring up the volunteers 
of the Massachusetts borders, to assemble forthwith at Bed- 
ford, in the vicinity of Boston. 

Equally alert was his old comrade in frontier exploits, 
Colonel Israel Putnam. A man on horseback, with a drum, 
passed through his neighborhood in Connecticut, proclaim- 
ing British violence at Lexington. Putnam was in the field 
plowing, assisted by his son. In an instant the team was 
unyoked ; the plow left in the furrow ; the lad sent home to 
give word of his father's departure; and Putnam, on horse- 
back, in his working garb, urging with all speed to the camp. 
Such was the spirit aroused throughout the country. The 
sturdy yeomanry, from all parts, were hastening toward 
Boston with such weapons as were at hand ; and happy was 
he who could command a rusty fowling-piece and a powder- 

The news reached Virginia at a critical moment. Lord 
Dunmore, obeying a general order issued by the ministry to 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 413 

all the provincial governors, had seized upon the military 
munitions of the province. Here was a similar measure to 
that o£ Gage. The cry went forth that the subjugation of 
the colonies was to be attempted. All Virginia was in com- 
bustion. The standard of liberty was reared in every county ; 
there was a general cry to arms. "Washington was looked 
to from various quarters to take command. His old com- 
rade in arms, Hugh Mercer, was about marching down to 
Williamsburg, at the head of a body of resolute men, seven 
hundred strong, entitled "The friends of constitutional lib- 
erty and America," whom he had organized and drilled in 
Fredericksburg, and nothing but a timely concession of Lord 
Dunmore, with respect to some powder which he had seized* 
prevented his being beset in his palace. 

Before Hugh Mercer and the Friends of Liberty dis- 
banded themselves, they exchanged a mutual pledge to re- 
assemble at a moment's warning, whenever called on to 
defend the liberty and rights of this or any other sister 

Washington was at Mount Vernon, preparing to set out 
for Philadelphia as a delegate to the second Congress, when 
he received tidings of the affair at Lexington. Bryan Fair- 
fax and Major Horatio Gates were his guests at the time. 
They all regarded the event as decisive in its consequences ; 
but they regarded it with different feelings. The worthy 
and gentle-spirited Fairfax deplored it deeply. He foresaw 
that it must break up all his pleasant relations in life ; array- 
ing his dearest friends against the government to which, not- 
withstanding the errors of its policy, he was loyally attached 
and resolved to adhere. 

Gates, on the contrary, viewed it with the eye of a sol- 
dier and a place-hunter — hitherto disappointed in both ca- 

414 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Iruip^ 

pacities. This event promised to open a new avenue to im- 
portance and command, and he determined to enter upon it. 
Washington's feelings were of a mingled nature. They 
may be gathered from a letter to his friend and neighbor, 
George William Fairfax, then in England, in which he lays 
the blame of this " deplorable affair" on the ministry and 
their military agents; and concludes with the following 
words, in which the yearnings of the patriot give affecting 
Solemnity to the implied resolve of the soldier : ' ' Unhappy it 
is to reflect that a brother's sword has been sheathed in a 
brother's breast; and that the once happy and peaceful 
plains of America are to be either drenched with blood or 
inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative! But can a virtuous 
man hesitate in his choice?" 


Meeting of Troops in the East — Camp at Boston — General Artemas 
Ward — Scheme to surprise Ticonderoga — New Hampshire 
Grants— Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys — Benedict 
Arnold— Affair of Ticonderoga and Crown Point — A Dash at 
St. John's 

At the eastward, the march of the Revolution went on 
with accelerated speed. Thirty thousand men had been 
deemed necessary for the defense of the country. The pro- 
vincial Congress of Massachusetts resolved to raise thirteen 
thousand six hundred as its quota. Circular letters, also, 
were issued by the committee of safety, urging the towns 
to enlist troops with all speed, and calling for military aid 
from the other New England provinces. 

Cife of U/asbip^top 415 

Their appeals were promptly answered. Bodies of mi' 
litia, and parties of volunteers from New Hampshire, Rhode 
Island, and Connecticut, hastened to join the minute men of 
Massachusetts in forming a camp in the neighborhood of 
Boston. With the troops of Connecticut came Israel Put- 
nam; having recently raised a regiment in that province, 
and received from its Assembly the commission of brigadier- 
general. Some of his old comrades in French and Indian 
warfare had hastened to join his standard. Such were two 
of his captains, Durkee and Knowlton. The latter, who was 
his especial favorite, had fought by his side when a mere 

The command of the camp was given to General Artemas 
Ward, already mentioned. He was a native of Shrewsbury, 
in Massachusetts, and a veteran of the seven years' war — 
having served as lieutenant-colonel under Abercrombie. He 
had, likewise, been a member of the legislative bodies, and 
had recently been made, by the provincial Congress of 
Massachusetts, commander-in-chief of its forces. 

As affairs were now drawing to a crisis, and war was 
considered inevitable, some bold spirits in Connecticut con- 
ceived a project for the outset. This was the surprisal of 
the old forts of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, already 
famous in the French war. Their situation on Lake Cham- 
plain gave them the command of the main route to Canada; 
so that the possession of them would be all -important in case 
of hostilities. They were feebly garrisoned and negligently 
guarded, and abundantly furnished with artillery and mili- 
tary stores, so much needed by the patriot army. 

This scheme was set on foot in the purlieus, as it were, 
of the provincial Legislature of Connecticut, then in session. 
It was not openly sanctioned by that body, but secretly fav- 

416 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$to]? Irv/ip$ 

ored, and money lent from the treasury to those engaged in 
it. A committee was appointed, also, to accompany them 
to the frontier, aid them in raising troops, and exercise over 
them a degree of superintendence and control. 

Sixteen men were thus enlisted in Connecticut, a greater 
number in Massachusetts, but the greatest accession of force 
was from what was called the "New Hampshire Grants.' ' 
This was a region having the Connecticut River on one side, 
and Lake Champlain and the Hudson River on the other — 
being, in fact, the country forming the present State of Ver- 
mont. It had long been a disputed territory, claimed by 
New York and New Hampshire. George II. had decided 
in favor of New York ; but the Governor of New Hampshire 
had made grants of between one and two hundred townships 
in it, whence it had acquired the name of the New Hamp- 
shire Grants. 

The settlers on those grants resisted the attempts of New 
York to eject them, and formed themselves into an asso- 
ciation called "The Green Mountain Boys." Resolute? 
strong-handed fellows they were, with Ethan Allen at their 
head, a native of Connecticut, but brought up among the 
Green Mountains. He and his lieutenants, Seth Warner and 
Remember Baker, were outlawed by the Legislature of New 
York, and rewards offered for their apprehension. They 
and their associates armed themselves, set New York at 
defiance, and swore they would be the death of any one 
who should attempt their arrest. 

Thus Ethan Allen was becoming a kind of Robin Hood 
among the mountains, when the present crisis changed the 
relative position of things as if by magic. Boundary feuds 
were forgotten amid the great questions of colonial rights. 
Ethan Allen at once stepped forward, a patriot, and volun- 

Cife of U/a8f?ii)<$toi) 417 

teered with his Green Mountain Boys to serve in the popular 
cause. He was well fitted for the enterprise in question, by 
his experience as a frontier champion, his robustness of mind 
and body, and his fearless spirit. He had a kind of rough 
eloquence, also, that was very effective with his followers. 
"His style," says one, who knew him personally, "was a 
singular compound of local barbarisms, scriptural phrases, 
and oriental wildness; and though unclassic, and sometimes 
ungrammatical, was highly animated and forcible." Wash- 
ington, in one of his letters, says there was "an original 
something in him which commanded admiration." 

Thus re-enforced, the party, now two hundred and sev- 
enty strong, pushed forward to Castleton, a place within a 
few miles of the head of Lake Champlain. Here a council 
of war was held on the 2d of May. Ethan Allen was placed 
at the head of the expedition, with James Easton and Seth 
"Warner as second and third in command. Detachments 
were sent off to Skenesborough (now Whitehall), and another 
place on the lake, with orders to seize all the boats they could 
find and bring them to Shoreham, opposite Ticonderoga, 
whither Allen prepared to proceed with the main body. 

At this juncture another adventurous spirit arrived at 
Castleton. This was Benedict Arnold, since so sadly 
renowned. He, too, had conceived the project of surprising 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point ; or, perhaps, had caught the 
idea from its first agitators in Connecticut — in the militia of 
which province he held a captain's commission. He had 
proposed the scheme to the Massachusetts committee of 
safety. It had met with their approbation. They had given 
him a colonel's commission, authorized him to raise a force 
in Western Massachusetts, not exceeding four hundred men, 
and furnished him with money and means. Arnold had 

418 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir;$toi) Irvir?<$ 

enlisted but a few officers and men when he heard of the 
expedition from Connecticut being on the march. He in- 
stantly hurried on with one attendant to overtake it, leaving 
his few recruits to follow, as best they could : in this way 
he reached Castieton just after the council of war. 

Producing the colonel's commission received from the 
Massachusetts committee of safety, he now aspired to the 
supreme command. His claims were disregarded by the 
Green Mountain Boys; they would follow no leader but 
Ethan Allen. As they formed the majority of the party, 
Arnold was fain to acquiesce, and serve as a volunteer, with 
the rank, but not the command of colonel. 

The party arrived at Shoreham, opposite Ticonderoga, 
on the night of the 9th of May. The detachment sent in 
quest of boats had failed to arrive. There were a few boats 
at hand, with which the transportation was commenced. It 
was slow work; the night wore away; day was about to 
break, and but eighty- three men, with Allen and Arnold, 
had crossed. Should they wait for the residue, day would 
dawn, the garrison wake, and their enterprise might fail. 
Allen drew up his men, addressed them in his own emphatic 
style, and announced his intention to make a dash at the 
fort, without waiting for more force. "It is a desperate 
attempt," said he, "and I ask no man to go against his will. 
I will take the lead, and be the first to advance. You that 
are willing to follow, poise your firelocks.' ' Not a firelock 
but was poised. 

They mounted the hill briskly, but in silence, guided by 
a boy from the neighborhood. The day dawned as Allen 
arrived at a sally port. A sentry pulled trigger on him, but 
his piece missed fire. He retreated through a covered way. 
Allen and his men followed. Another sentry thrust at Easton 

Cife of U/as^ip^toi? 419 

with his bayonet, but was struck down by Allen and begged 
for quarter. It was granted on condition of his leading the 
way instantly to the quarters of the commandant, Captain 
Delaplace, who was yet in bed. Being arrived there, Allen 
thundered at the door, and demanded a surrender of the fort. 
By this time his followers had formed into two lines on the 
parade-ground, and given three hearty cheers. The com- 
mandant appeared at his door half -dressed, "the frightened 
face of his pretty wife peering over his shoulder." He gazed 
at Allen in bewildered astonishment. "By whose authority 
do you act?" exclaimed he. "In the name of the great 
Jehovah, and the Continental Congress!" replied Allen, with 
a flourish of his sword, and an oath which we do not care to 

There was no disputing the point. The garrison, like the 
commander, had been startled from sleep and made prison- 
ers as they rushed forth in their confusion. A surrender 
accordingly took place. The captain, and forty-eight men, 
which composed his garrison, were sent prisoners to Hart- 
ford, in Connecticut. A great supply of military and naval 
stores, so important in the present crisis, was found in the 

Colonel Seth Warner, who had brought over the residue 
of the party from Shoreham, was now sent with a detach- 
ment against Crown Point, which surrendered on the 12th 
of May, without firing a gun ; the whole garrison being a 
sergeant and twelve men. Here were taken upward of a 
hundred cannon. 

Arnold now insisted vehemently on his right to com- 
mand Ticonderoga; being, as he said, the only officer in- 
vested with legal authority. His claims had again to yield 
to the superior popularity of Ethan Allen, to whom the 

4:20 U/or^s of U/asl?ir>^toi) Iruip^ 

Connecticut committee, which had accompanied the enter- 
prise, gave an instrument in writing, investing him with the 
command of the fortress and its dependencies, until he 
should receive the orders of the Connecticut Assembly or 
the Continental Congress. Arnold, while forced to acquiesce, 
sent a protest and a statement of his grievances to the 
Massachusetts Legislature. In the meantime, his chagrin 
was appeased by a new project. The detachment originally 
sent to seize upon boats at Skenesborough arrived with a 
schooner and several bateaux. It was immediately con- 
certed between Allen and Arnold to cruise in them down the 
lake, and surprise St. John's, on the Sorel River, the fron- 
tier post of Canada. The schooner was accordingly armed 
with cannon from the fort. Arnold, who had been a sea- 
man in his youth, took the command of her, while Allen and 
his Green Mountain Boys embarked in the bateaux. 

Arnold outsailed the other craft, and arriving at St. 
John's, surprised and made prisoners of a sergeant and 
twelve men; captured a king's sloop of seventy tons, with 
two brass six-pounders and seven men ; took four bateaux, 
destroyed several others, and then, learning that troops were 
on the way from Montreal and Chamblee, spread all his sails 
to a favoring breeze, and swept up the lake with his prizes 
and prisoners, and some valuable stores which he had secured. 

He had not sailed far when he met Ethan Allen and the 
bateaux. Salutes were exchanged; cannon on one side, 
musketry on the other. Allen boarded the sloop; learned 
from Arnold the particulars of his success, and determined 
to push on, take possession of St. John's, and garrison it 
with one hundred of his Green Mountain Boys. He was 
foiled in the attempt by the superior force which had arrived ; 
so he returned to his station at Ticonderoga. 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$eoi) 421 

Thus a partisan band, unpracticed in the art of war, had, 
by a series of daring exploits, and almost without the loss of 
a man, won for the patriots the command of Lakes George 
and Champlain, and thrown open the great highway to 


Second Session of Congress— John Hancock — Petition to the King 
— Federal Union — Military Measures — Debates about the Army 
— Question as to Commander-in-chief — Appointment of Wash- 
ington — Other Appointments — Letters of Washington to his 
Wife and Brother — Preparations for Departure 

The second General Congress assembled at Philadelphia 
on the 10th of May. Peyton Randolph was again elected as 
president; but being obliged to return, and occupy his place 
as speaker of the Virginia Assembly, John Hancock, of 
Massachusetts, was elevated to the chair. 

A lingering feeling of attachment to the mother country, 
struggling with the growing spirit of self-government, was 
manifest in the proceedings of this remarkable body. Many 
of those most active in vindicating colonial rights, and 
Washington among the number, still indulged the hope 
of an eventual reconciliation, while few entertained, or, 
at least, avowed the idea of complete independence. 

A second " humble and dutiful" petition to the king was 
moved, but met with strong opposition. John Adams con- 
demned it as an imbecile measure, calculated to embarrass 
the proceedings of Congress. He was for prompt and vigor- 
ous action. Other members concurred with him. Indeed, 
the measure itself seemed but a mere form, intended to rec- 

422 U/or^s of U/as^ip^top Iruir><$ 

oncile the half -scrupulous ; for subsequently, when it was car- 
ried, Congress, in face of it, went on to assume and exercise 
the powers of a sovereign authority. A federal union was 
formed, leaving to each colony the right of regulating its 
internal affairs according to its own individual constitution, 
but vesting in Congress the power of making peace or war; 
of entering into treaties and alliances ; of regulating general 
commerce ; in a word, of legislating on all such matters as 
regarded the security and welfare of the whole community. 

The executive power was to be vested in a council of 
twelve, chosen by Congress from among its own members, 
and to hold office for a limited time. Such colonies as had 
not sent delegates to Congress might yet become members 
of the confederacy by agreeing to its conditions. Georgia, 
which had hitherto hesitated, soon joined the league, which 
thus extended from Nova Scotia to Florida. 

Congress lost no time in exercising their federated powers. 
In virtue of them they ordered the enlistment of troops, the 
construction of forts in various parts of the colonies, the pro- 
vision of arms, ammunition, and military stores; while to 
defray the expenses of these, and other measures, avowedly 
of self-defense, they authorized the emission of notes to the 
amount of three millions of dollars, bearing the inscription 
of "The United Colonies" ; the faith of the confederacy being 
pledged for their redemption. 

A retaliating decree was passed, prohibiting all supplies 
of provisions to the British fisheries; and another, declaring 
the province of Massachusetts Bay absolved from its com- 
pact with the crown, by the violation of its charter; and 
recommending it to form an internal government for itself. 

The public sense of Washington's military talents and 
experience was evinced in his being chairman of all the com- 

Cife of U/asl?ip$toi) 423 

mittees appointed for military affairs. Most of the rules and 
regulations for the army, and the measures for defense, were 
devised by him. 

The situation of the New England army, actually be- 
sieging Boston, became an early and absorbing consideration. 
It was without munitions of war, without arms, clothing, or 
pay ; in fact, without legislative countenance or encourage- 
ment. Unless sanctioned and assisted by Congress, there 
was danger of its dissolution. If dissolved, how could 
another be collected? If dissolved, what would there be to 
prevent the British from sallying out of Boston and spread- 
ing desolation throughout the country? 

All this was the subject of much discussion out of doors. 
The disposition to uphold the army was general; but the 
difficult question was, who should be commander-in-chief? 
Adams, in his diary, gives us glimpses of the conflict of 
opinions and interests within doors. There was a southern 
party, he said, which could not brook the idea of a New 
England army, commanded by a New England general. 
"Whether this jealousy was sincere," writes he, "or whether 
it was mere pride, and a haughty ambition of furnishing a 
southern general to command the northern army, I cannot 
say ; but the intention was very visible to me, that Colonel 
"Washington was their object ; and so many of our stanchest 
men were in the plan that we could carry nothing without 
conceding to it. There was another embarrassment, which 
was never publicly known, and which was carefully con- 
cealed by those who knew it : the Massachusetts and other 
New England delegates were divided. Mr. Hancock and 
Mr. Cushing hung back ; Mr. Paine did not come forward, 
and even Mr. Samuel Adams was irresolute. Mr. Hancock 
himself had an ambition to be appointed commander-in-chief. 

424 U/orl{8 of U/asl?in$toi) Irvir>^ 

Whether he thought an election a compliment due to him, 
and intended to have the honor of declining it, or whether 
he would have accepted it, I know not. To the compliment 
he had some pretensions; for, at that time, his exertions, 
sacrifices, and general merits in the cause of his country, 
had been incomparably greater than those of Colonel Wash- 
ington. But the delicacy of his health, and his entire want 
of experience in actual service, though an excellent militia 
officer, were decisive objections to him in my mind." 

General Charles Lee was at that time in Philadelphia. 
His former visit had made him well acquainted with the 
leading members of Congress. The active interest he had 
manifested in the cause was well known, and the public 
had an almost extravagant idea of his military qualifications. 
He was of foreign birth, however, and it was deemed im- 
proper to confide the supreme command to any but a native- 
born American. In fact, if he was sincere in what we have 
quoted from his letter to Burke, he did not aspire to such 
a signal mark of confidence. 

The opinion evidently inclined in favor of Washington ; 
yet it was promoted by no clique of partisans or admirers. 
More than one of the Virginia delegates, says Adams, were 
cool on the subject of this appointment; and, particularly, 
Mr. Pendleton was clear and full against it. It is scarcely 
necessary to add that Washington in this, as in every other 
situation in life, made no step in advance to clutch the im- 
pending honor. 

Adams, in his diary, claims the credit of bringing the 
members of Congress to a decision. Rising in his place, one 
day, and stating briefly, but earnestly, the exigencies of the 
case, he moved that Congress should adopt the army at 
Cambridge, and appoint a general. Though this was not 

Cife of U/as^ip^top 425 

the time to nominate the person, "yet," adds he, "as I had 
reason to believe this was a point of some difficulty, I 
had no hesitation to declare that I had but one gentleman 
in my mind for that important command, and that was a 
gentleman from Virginia, who was among us and very well 
known to all of us ; a gentleman whose skill and experience 
as an officer, whose independent fortune, great talents, and 
excellent universal character, would command the approba- 
tion of all America, and unite the cordial exertions of all the 
colonies better than any other person in the Union. Mr. 
Washington, who happened to sit near the door, as soon as 
he heard me allude to him, from his usual modesty, darted 
into the library-room. Mr. Hancock, who was our presi- 
dent, which gave me an opportunity to observe his counte- 
nance, while I was speaking on the state of the colonies, the 
army at Cambridge, and the enemy, heard me with visible 
pleasure ; but when I came to describe Washington for the 
commander, I never remarked a more sudden and strik- 
ing change of countenance. Mortification and resent- 
ment were expressed as forcibly as his face could exhibit 

"When the subject came under debate, several delegates 
opposed the appointment of Washington; not from personal 
objections, but because the army were all from New Eng- 
land, and had a general of their own, General Artemas 
Ward, with whom they appeared well satisfied; and under 
whose command they had proved themselves able to imprison 
the British army in Boston ; which was all that was to be 
expected or desired." 

The subject was postponed to a future day. In the in- 
terim, pains were taken out of doors to obtain a unanimity, 
and the voices were in general so clearly in favor of Wash- 

426 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^top Irulp^ 

ington that the dissentient members were persuaded to with- 
draw their opposition. 

On the 15th of June, the army was regularly adopted by 
Congress, and the pay of the commander-in-chief fixed at 
five hundred dollars a month. Many still clung to the idea 
that in all these proceedings they were merely opposing the 
measures of the ministry, and not the authority of the crown, 
and thus the army before Boston was designated as the 
Continental Army, in contradistinction to that under Gen- 
eral Gage, which was called the Ministerial Army. 

In this stage of the business Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, 
rose, and nominated Washington for the station of com- 
mander-in-chief. The election was by ballot, and was 
unanimous. It was formally announced to him by the 
president, on the following day, when he had taken his seat 
in Congress. Rising in his place, he briefly expressed his 
high and grateful sense of the honor conferred on him, and 
his sincere devotion to the cause. "But," added he, "lest 
some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my repu- 
tation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in 
the room, that I this day declare, with the utmost sincerity, 
I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored 
with. As to pay, I beg leave to assure the Congress that, 
as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to 
accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my 
domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any 
profit of it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses, 
Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I 

"There is something charming to me in the conduct of 
"Washington," writes Adams to a friend; "a gentleman of 
one of the first fortunes upon the continent, leaving his 

Cife of U/as^ir><$tor> 427 

delicious retirement, his family and friends, sacrificing his 
ease, and hazarding all, in the cause of his country. His 
views are noble and disinterested. He declared, when he 
accepted the mighty trust, that he would lay before us an 
exact account of his expenses, and not accept a shilling of 

Four major-generals were to be appointed. Among those 
specified were General Charles Lee and General Ward. Mr. 
Mifflin, of Philadelphia, who was Lee's especial friend and 
admirer, urged that he should be second in command. 
' ' General Lee,' 5 said he, "would serve cheerfully under 
Washington; but considering his rank, character, and ex- 
perience, could not be expected to serve under any other. 
He must be aut secundus y aut nullus." 

Adams, on the other hand, as strenuously objected that 
it would be a great deal to expect that General Ward, who 
was actually in command of the army in Boston, should 
serve under any man ; but under a stranger he ought not 
to serve. General Ward, accordingly, was elected the 
second in command, and Lee the third. The other two 
major-generals were Philip Schuyler, of New York, and 
Israel Putnam, of Connecticut. Eight brigadier-generals 
were likewise appointed: Seth Pomeroy, Richard Mont- 
gomery, David Wooster, William Heath, Joseph Spencer, 
John Thomas, John Sullivan, and Nathaniel Greene. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Mifflin's objection to having Lee 
ranked under Ward, as being beneath his dignity and merits, 
he himself made no scruple to acquiesce; though, judging 
from his supercilious character, and from circumstances in 
his subsequent conduct, he no doubt considered himself 
vastly superior to the provincial officers placed over him. 

At Washington's express request, his old friend, Major 

428 U/orKs of U/asl?ir>^top Irvirpo; 

Horatio Gates, then absent at his estate in Virginia, was 
appointed adjutant-general, with the rank of brigadier. 

Adams, according to his own account, was extremely 
loth to admit either Lee or Gates into the American service, 
although he considered them officers of great experience and 
confessed abilities. He apprehended difficulties, he said, 
from the " natural prejudices and virtuous attachment of 
our countrymen to their own officers." "But," adds he, 
"considering the earnest desire of General Washington to 
have the assistance of those officers, the extreme attachment 
of many of our best friends in the southern colonies to them, 
the reputation they would give to our arms in Europe, and 
especially with the ministerial generals and army in Boston, 
as well as the real American merit of both, I could not with- 
hold my vote from either. ' ' 

The reader will possibly call these circumstances to mind 
when, on a future page, he finds how Lee and Gates requited 
the friendship to which chiefly they owed their appointments. 

In this momentous change in his condition, which sud- 
denly altered all his course of life, and called him imme- 
diately to the camp, Washington's thoughts recurred to 
Mount Vernon, and its rural delights, so dear to his heart, 
whence he was to be again exiled. His chief concern, how- 
ever, was on account of the distress it might cause to his 
wife. His letter to her on the subject is written in a tone 
of manly tenderness. "You may believe me," writes he, 
"when I assure you in the most solemn manner that, so far 
from seeking this appointment, I have used every endeavor 
in my power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to 
part with you and the family, but from a consciousness of 
its being a trust too great for my capacity; and I should en- 
joy more real happiness in one month with you at home, 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$toi) 429 

than I have the most distant prospect of finding abroad, if 
my stay were to be seven times seven years. But as it has 
been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this service, 
I shall hope that my undertaking it is designed to answer 
some good purpose 

"I shall rely confidently on that Providence which has 
heretofore preserved, and been bountiful to me, not doubting 
but that I shall return safe to you in the fall. I shall feel no 
pain from the toil or danger of the campaign ; my unhappi- 
ness will flow from the uneasiness I know you will feel from 
being left alone. I therefore beg that you will summon your 
whole fortitude, and pass your time as agreeably as possible. 
Nothing will give me so much sincere satisfaction as to hear 
this, and to hear it from your own pen." 

And to his favorite brother, John Augustine, he writes : 
"I am now to bid adieu to you, and to every kind of domes- 
tic ease, for a while. I am embarked on a wide ocean, 
boundless in its prospect, and in which, perhaps, no safe 
harbor is to be found. I have been called upon by the unani- 
mous voice of the colonies to take command of the Continen- 
tal army ; an honor I neither sought after nor desired ; as 1 
am thoroughly convinced that it requires great abilities, and 
much more experience than I am master of." And subse- 
quently, referring to his wife: "I shall hope that my friends 
will visit, and endeavor to keep up the spirits of my wife as 
much as they can, for my departure will, I know, be a cut- 
ting stroke upon her ; and on this account alone I have many 
disagreeable sensations." 

On the 20th of June, he received his commission from 
the president of Congress. The following day was fixed 
upon for his departure for the army. He reviewed previ- 
ously, at the request of their officers, several militia com- 

430 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$tor) Iruin$ 

panies of horse and foot. Every one was anxious to see the 
new commander, and rarely has the public beau ideal of a 
commander been so fully answered. He was now in the 
vigor of his days, forty-three years of age, stately in person, 
noble in his demeanor, calm and dignified in his deportment; 
as he sat his horse with manly grace, his military presence 
delighted every eye, and wherever he went the air rang 
with acclamations. 


More Troops arrive at Boston — Generals Howe, Burgoyne, and Clin- 
ton — Proclamation of Gage — Nature of the American Army — 
Scornful Conduct of the British Officers — Project of the Ameri- 
cans to seize upon Breed's Hill — Putnam's Opinion of it — Sanc- 
tioned by Prescott — Nocturnal March of the Detachment — Forti- 
fying of Bunker's Hill — Break of Day and Astonishment of the 

While Congress had been deliberating on the adoption 
of the army, and the nomination of a commander-in-chief, 
events had been thickening and drawing to a crisis in the 
excited region about Boston. The provincial troops which 
blockaded the town prevented supplies by land, the neigh- 
boring country refused to furnish them by water; fresh pro- 
visions and vegetables were no longer to be procured, and 
Boston began to experience the privations of a besieged city. 

On the 25th of May, arrived ships of war and transports 
from England, bringing large re-enforcements under Gen- 
erals Howe, Burgoyne, and Henry Clinton, commanders of 
high reputation. 
t As the ships entered the harbor, and the " rebel camp 


Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 431 

was pointed out, ten thousand yeomanry beleaguering a 
town garrisoned by five thousand regulars, Burgoyne could 
not restrain a burst of surprise and scorn. "What!" cried 
he, "ten thousand peasants keep five thousand king's troops 
shut up! Well, let us get in, and we'll soon find elbow- 

Inspirited by these re-enforcements, General Gage deter ■ 
mined to take the field. Previously, however, in conformity 
to instructions from Lord Dartmouth, the head of the war 
department, he issued a proclamation (12th June), putting 
the province under martial law, threatening to treat as rebels 
and traitors all malcontents who should continue under arms, 
together with their aiders and abettors ; but offering pardon 
to all who should lay down their arms and return to their 
allegiance. From this proffered amnesty, however, John 
Hancock and Samuel Adams were especially excepted; 
their offenses being pronounced "too flagitious not to meet 
with condign punishment.' ' 

This proclamation only served to put the patriots on the 
alert against such measures as might be expected to follow, 
and of which their friends in Boston stood ready to apprise 
them. The besieging force, in the meantime, was daily aug- 
mented by recruits and volunteers, and now amounted to 
about fifteen thousand men distributed at various points. Its 
character and organization were peculiar. As has well been 
observed, it could not be called a national army; for, as yet, 
there was no nation to own it * y it was not under the author- 
ity of the Continental Congress, the act of that body recog- 
nizing it not having as yet been passed, and the authority of 
that body itself not having been acknowledged. It was, in 
fact, a fortuitous assemblage of four distinct bodies of troops, 
belonging to different provinces, and each having a leader of 

432 U/orl^s of U/asl?iD$tOD Irvio<$ 

its own election. About ten thousand belonged to Massa- 
chusetts, and were under the command of General Artemas 
Ward, whose headquarters were at Cambridge. Another 
body of troops, under Colonel John Stark, already men- 
tioned, came from New Hampshire. Rhode Island fur- 
nished a third, under the command of General Nathaniel 
Greene. A fourth was from Connecticut, under the veteran 

These bodies of troops, being from different colonies, were 
independent of each other, and had their several command- 
ers. Those from New Hampshire were instructed to obey 
General Ward as commander-in-chief; with the rest, it was 
a voluntary act, rendered in consideration of his being mili- 
tary chief of Massachusetts, the province which, as allies, 
they came to defend. There was, in fact, but little organi- 
zation in the army. Nothing kept it together, and gave 
it unity of action, but a common feeling of exasperated 

The troops knew but little of military discipline. Almost 
all were familiar with the use of firearms in hunting and 
fowling ; many had served in frontier campaigns against the 
French, and in "bush-fighting" with the Indians; but none 
were acquainted with regular service or the discipline of 
European armies. There was a regiment of artillery, partly 
organized by Colonel Gridley, a skillful engineer, and fur- 
nished with nine field-pieces; but the greater part of the 
troops were without military dress or accouterments ; most 
of them were hasty levies of yeomanry, some of whom 
had seized their rifles and fowling-pieces, and turned out 
in their working clothes and home-spun country garbs. 
It was an army of volunteers, subordinate through in- 
clination and respect to officers of their own choice, and 

Cife of U/asl?ii}$toi) 433 

depending for sustenance on supplies sent from their sev- 
eral towns. 

Such was the army spread over an extent of ten or twelve 
miles, and keeping watch upon the town of Boston, contain- 
ing at that time a population of seventeen thousand souls, 
and garrisoned with more than ten thousand British troops, 
disciplined and experienced in the wars of Europe. 

In the disposition of these forces, General Ward had sta- 
tioned himself at Cambridge, with the main body, of about 
nine thousand men and four companies of artillery. Lieu- 
tenant-general Thomas, second in command, with five thou- 
sand Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island troops, 
and three or four companies of artillery, at Roxbury and 
Dorchester, forming the right wing of the army ; while the 
left, composed in a great measure of New Hampshire troops, 
stretched through Medford to the hills of Chelsea. It was 
a great annoyance to the British officers and soldiers to be 
thus hemmed in by what they termed a rustic rout with 
calico frocks and fowling-pieces. The same scornful and 
taunting spirit prevailed among them that the cavaliers of 
yore indulged toward the Covenanters. Considering Epis- 
copacy as the only loyal and royal faith, they insulted and 
desecrated the " sectarian" places of worship. One was 
turned into a riding-school for the cavalry, and the fire in 
the stove was kindled with books from the library of its pas- 
tor. The Provincials retaliated by turning the Episcopal 
church at Cambridge into a barrack, and melting down its 
organ pipes into bullets. 

Both parties panted for action; the British through im- 
patience of their humiliating position, and an eagerness to 
chastise what they considered the presumption of their be- 
siegers; the Provincials through enthusiasm in their cause, 

* * * S— Vol. XII. 

434 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Iruio$ 

a thirst for enterprise and exploit, and, it must be added, an 
unconsciousness of their own military deficiencies. 

We have already mentioned the peninsula of Charlestown 
(called from a village of the same name), which lies opposite 
to the north side of Boston. The heights, which swell up in 
rear of the village, overlook the town and shipping. The 
project was conceived in the besieging camp to seize and oc- 
cupy those heights. A council of war was held upon the 
subject. The arguments in favor of the attempt were that 
the army was anxious to be employed ; that the country was 
dissatisfied with its inactivity, and that the enemy might 
thus be drawn out to ground where they might be fought to 
advantage. General Putnam was one of the most strenuous 
in favor of the measure. 

Some of the more wary and judicious, among whom were 
General "Ward and Dr. Warren, doubted the expediency of 
intrenching themselves on those heights, and the possibility 
of maintaining so exposed a post, scantily furnished, as they 
were, with ordnance and ammunition. Besides, it might 
bring on a general engagement, which it was not safe to 

Putnam made light of the danger. He was confident of 
the bravery of the militia if intrenched, having seen it tried 
in the old French war. "The Americans," said he, "are 
never afraid of their heads; they only think of their legs; 
shelter them, and they'll fight forever." He was seconded 
by General Pomeroy, a leader of like stamp, and another 
veteran of the French war. He had been a hunter in his 
time; a dead shot with a rifle, and was ready to lead troops 
against the enemy, "with five cartridges to a man." 

The daring counsels of such men are always captivating 
to the inexperienced ; but in the present instance they were 

Cife of U/asl?ip^top 435 

sanctioned by one whose opinion in such matters, and in this 
vicinity, possessed peculiar weight. This was Colonel "Wil- 
liam Prescott, of Pepperell, who commanded a regiment of 
minute men. He, too, had seen service in the French war, 
and acquired reputation as a lieutenant of infantry at the 
capture of Cape Breton. This was sufficient to constitute 
him an oracle in the present instance. He was now about 
fifty years of age, tall and commanding in his appearance, 
and retaining the port of a soldier. What was more, he had 
a military garb ; being equipped with a three-cornered hat, 
a top wig, and a single-breasted blue coat, with facings and 
lapped up at the skirts. All this served to give him conse- 
quence among the rustic militia officers with whom he was 
in council. 

His opinion, probably, settled the question ; and it was 
determined to seize on and fortify Bunker's Hill and Dor- 
chester Heights. In deference, however, to the suggestions 
of the more cautious, it was agreed to postpone the measure 
until they were sufficiently supplied with the munitions of 
war to be able to maintain the heights when seized. 

Secret intelligence hurried forward the project. General 
Gage, it was said, intended to take possession of Dorchester 
Heights on the night of the 18th of June. These heights lay 
on the opposite side of Boston, and the committee were igno- 
rant of their localities. Those on Charlestown Neck, being 
near at hand, had some time before been reconnoitered by 
Colonel Richard Gridley, and other of the engineers. Ifc 
was determined to seize and fortify these heights on the 
night of Friday, the 16th of June, in anticipation of the 
movement of General Gage. Troops were drafted for 
the purpose from the Massachusetts regiments of Colonels 
Prescott, Frye, and Bridges. There was also a fatigue 

436 U/orl^s of U/astyip^toi) Irvipo; 

party of about two hundred men from Putnam's Connecti- 
cut troops, led by his favorite officer, Captain Knowlton; to- 
gether with a company of forty-nine artillery men, with two 
field- pieces, commanded by Captain Samuel Gridley. 

A little before sunset the troops, about twelve hundred 
in all, assembled on the common, in front of General Ward's 
quarters. They came provided with packs, blankets, and 
provisions for four-and-twenty hours, but ignorant of the 
object of the expedition. Being all paraded, prayers were 
offered up by the reverend President Langdon, of Harvard 
College; after which they all set forward on their silent 

Colonel Prescott, from his experience in military matters, 
and his being an officer in the Massachusetts line, had been 
chosen by General Ward to conduct the enterprise. His 
written orders were to fortify Bunker's Hill, and defend the 
works until he should be relieved. Colonel Richard Gridley, 
the chief engineer, who had likewise served in the French 
war, was to accompany him, and plan the fortifications. It 
was understood that re-enforcements and refreshments would 
be sent to the fatigue party in the morning. 

The detachment left Cambridge about nine o'clock, 
Colonel Prescott taking the lead, preceded by two ser- 
geants with dark lanterns. At Charlestown Neck they 
were joined by Major Brooks, of Bridges' regiment, and 
General Putnam; and here were the wagons laden with in- 
trenching tools, which first gave the men an indication of 
the nature of the enterprise. 

Charlestown Neck is a narrow isthmus, connecting the 
peninsula with the mainland; having the Mystic River, 
about half a mile wide, on the north, and a large embay- 
ment of Charles River on the south or right side. 

Cife of U/asl?ii}$tor) 437 

It was now necessary to proceed with the utmost caution, 
for they were coming on ground over which the British 
kept jealous watch. They had erected a battery at Boston 
on Copp's Hill, immediately opposite to Charlestown. Five 
of their vessels of war were stationed so as to bear upon the 
peninsula from different directions, and the guns of one of 
them swept the isthmus or narrow neck just mentioned. 

Across this isthmus, Colonel Prescott conducted the de- 
tachment undiscovered, and up the ascent of Bunker's Hill. 
This commences at the Neck, and slopes up for about three 
hundred yards to its summit, which is about one hundred 
and twelve feet high. It then declines toward the south, 
and is connected by a ridge with Breed's Hill, about sixty 
or seventy feet high. The crests of the two hills are about 
seven hundred yards apart. On attaining the heights, a 
question arose which of the two they should proceed to 
fortify. Bunker's Hill was specified in the written orders 
given to Colonel Prescott by General Ward, but Breed's 
Hill was much nearer to Boston, and had a better command 
of the town and shipping. Bunker's Hill, also, being on the 
upper and narrower part of the peninsula, was itself com- 
manded by the same ship which raked the Neck. Putnam 
was clear for commencing at Breed's Hill, and making the 
principal work there, while a minor work might be thrown 
up at Bunker's Hill, as a protection in the rear, and a rally- 
ing point, in case of being driven out of the main work. 
Others concurred with this opinion, yet there was a hesita- 
tion in deviating from the letter of their orders. At length 
Colonel Gridley became impatient; the night was waning; 
delay might prostrate the whole enterprise. Breed's Hill 
was then determined on. Gridley marked out the lines for 
the fortifications; the men stacked their guns; threw off 

438 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir;$ton Irvip$ 

their packs; seized their trenching tools, and set to work 
with great spirit; but so much time had been wasted in dis- 
cussion that it was midnight before they struck the first 
spade into the ground. 

Prescott, who felt the responsibility of his charge, almost 
despaired of carrying on these operations undiscovered. A 
party was sent out by him silently to patrol the shore at the 
foot of the heights, and watch for any movement of the 
enemy. Not willing to trust entirely to the vigilance of oth- 
ers, he twice went down during the night to the water's 
edge; reconnoitering everything scrupulously, and noting 
every sight and sound. It was a warm, still, summer's 
night; the stars shone brightly, but everything was quiet. 
Boston was buried in sleep. The sentry's cry of "All's 
well" could be heard distinctly from the shores, together 
with the drowsy calling of the watch on board of the ships 
of war, and then all would relapse into silence. Satisfied 
that the enemy were perfectly unconscious of what was go- 
ing on upon the hill, he returned to the works, and a little 
before daybreak called in the patroling party. 

So spiritedly, though silently, had the labor been carried 
on that by morning a strong redoubt was thrown up as a 
main work, flanked on the left by a breastwork, partly can- 
non-proof, extending down the crest of Breed's Hill to a 
piece of marshy ground called the Slough. To support the 
right of the redoubt, some troops were thrown into the vil- 
lage of Charlestown, at the southern foot of the hill. The 
great object of Prescott's solicitude was now attained; a 
sufficient bulwark to screen his men before they should be 
discovered ; for he doubted the possibility of keeping raw re- 
cruits to their post, if openly exposed to the fire of artillery 
and the attack of disciplined troops. 

Cife of U/asr;iDtftOD 439 

At dawn of day, the Americans at work were espied by 
the sailors on board of the ships of war, and the alarm was 
given. The captain of the "Livery," the nearest ship, with- 
out waiting for orders, put a spring upon her cable, and 
bringing her guns to bear, opened a fire upon the hill. The 
other ships and a floating battery followed his example. 
Their shot did no mischief to the works, but one man, 
among a number who had incautiously ventured outside, 
was killed. A subaltern reported his death to Colonel Pres- 
cott, and asked what was to be done. "Bury him," was 
the reply. The chaplain gathered some of his military flock 
around him, and was proceeding to perform suitable ob- 
sequies over the "first martyr," but Prescott ordered that 
the men should disperse to their work and the deceased be 
buried immediately. It seemed shocking to men accustomed 
to the funeral solemnities of peaceful life to bury a man 
without prayers, but Prescott saw that the sight of this man 
suddenly shot down had agitated the nerves of his comrades, 
unaccustomed to scenes of war. Some of them, in fact, 
quietly left the hill, and did not return to it. 

To inspire confidence by example, Prescott now mounted 
the parapet, and walked leisurely about, inspecting the 
works, giving directions, and talking cheerfully with the 
men. In a little while they got over their dread of cannon- 
balls, and some even made them a subject of joke, or rather 
bravado; a species of sham courage occasionally manifested 
by young soldiers, but never by veterans. 

The cannonading roused the town of Boston. General 
Gage could scarcely believe his eyes when he beheld on the 
opposite hill a fortification full of men, which had sprung up 
in the course of the night. As he reconnoitered it through 
a glass from Copp's Hill, the tall figure of Prescott, in mili- 

440 U/orl^s of U/a8l?ii)<$tor7 lrv'ir)Q 

tary garb, walking the parapet, caught his eye. "Who is 
that officer who appears in command?" asked he. The ques- 
tion was answered by Counselor Willard, Prescott's brother- 
in-law, who was at hand, and recognized his relative. "Will 
he fight?" demanded Gage, quickly. "Yes, sir, he is an old 
soldier, and will fight to the last drop of blood ; but I cannot 
answer for his men." 

"The works must be carried!" exclaimed Gage. 

He called a council of war. The Americans might in- 
tend to cannonade Boston from this new fortification ; it was 
unanimously resolved to dislodge them. How was this to 
be done? A majority of the council, including Clinton and 
Grant, advised that a force should be landed on Charlestown 
Neck, under the protection of their batteries, so as to attack 
the Americans in rear, and cut off their retreat. General 
Gage objected that it would place his troops between two 
armies; one at Cambridge, superior in numbers, the other 
on the heights, strongly fortified. He was for landing in 
front of the works, and pushing directly up the hill; a plan 
adopted through a confidence that raw militia would never 
stand their ground against the assault of regular troops ; an- 
other instance of undervaluing the American spirit, which 
■^vas to cost the enemy a lamentable loss of life. 


Battle of Bunker's Hill 

The sound of drum and trumpet, the clatter of hoofs, the 
rattling of gun-carriages, and all the other military din and 

Cife of U/a8^ip<$toi> 441 

bustle in the streets of Boston, soon apprised the Americans 
on their rudely fortified height of an impending attack. 
They were ill fitted to withstand^ it, being jaded by the 
night's labor and want of sleep; hungry and thirsty, hav- 
ing brought but scanty supplies, and oppressed by the heat 
of the weather. Prescott sent repeated messages to General 
"Ward, asking re-enforcements and provisions. Putnam sec- 
onded the request in person, urging the exigencies of the 
case. "Ward hesitated. He feared to weaken his main body 
at Cambridge, as his military stores were deposited there, 
and it might have to sustain the principal attack. At 
length, having taken advice of the council of safety, he is- 
sued orders for Colonels Stark and Read, then at Medford, 
to march to the relief of Prescott with their New Hampshire 
regiments. The orders reached Medford about eleven o'clock. 
Ammunition was distributed in all haste ; two flints, a gill of 
powder, and fifteen balls to each man. The balls had to be 
suited to the different calibers of the guns ; the powder to 
be carried in powder-horns, or loose in the pocket, for there 
were no cartridges prepared. It was the rude turnout of 
yeoman soldiery, destitute of regular accouterments. 

In the meantime, the Americans on Breed's Hill were 
sustaining the fire from the ships, and from the battery on 
Copp's Hill, which opened upon them about ten o'clock. 
They returned an occasional shot from one corner of the 
redoubt, without much harm to the enemy, and continued 
strengthening their position until about eleven o'clock, when 
they ceased to work, piled their intrenching tools in the rear, 
and looked out anxiously and impatiently for the anticipated 
re-enforcements and supplies. 

About this time General Putnam, who had been to head- 
quarters, arrived at the redoubt on horseback. Some words 

442 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir?$toi) Irvii)$ 

passed between him and Prescott with regard to the intrench- 
ing tools, which have been variously reported. The most 
probable version is, that he urged to have them taken from 
their present place, where they might fall into the hands of 
the enemy, and carried to Bunker's Hill, to be employed in 
throwing up a redoubt, which was part of the original plan, 
and which would be very important should the troops be 
obliged to retreat from Breed's Hill. To this Prescott de- 
murred that those employed to convey them, and who were 
already jaded with toil, might not return to his redoubt. A 
large part of the tools were ultimately carried to Bunker's 
Hill, and a breastwork commenced by order of General Put- 
nam. The importance of such a work was afterward made 

About noon, the Americans descried twenty-eight barges 
crossing from Boston in parallel lines. They contained a 
large detachment of grenadiers, rangers and light infantry, 
admirably equipped, and commanded by Major-general 
Howe. They made a splendid and formidable appearance 
with their scarlet uniforms, and the sun flashing upon mus- 
kets and bayonets, and brass field-pieces. A heavy fire from 
the ships and batteries covered their advance, but no attempt 
was made to oppose them, and they landed about one o'clock 
at Moulton's Point, a little to the north of Breed's Hill. 

Here General Howe made a pause. On reconnoitering 
the works from this point, the Americans appeared to be 
much more strongly posted than he had imagined. He 
descried troops also hastening to their assistance. These 
were the New Hampshire troops, led on by Stark. Howe 
immediately sent over to General Gage for more forces, and 
a supply of cannon-balls ; those brought by him being found, 
through some egregious oversight, too large for the ord- 

Cife of U/a8^ip<$top 443 

nance. While awaiting their arrival, refreshments were 
perved out to the troops, with "grog" by the bucketful; and 
tantalizing it was to the hungry and thirsty Provincials, to 
look down from their ramparts of earth, and see their in- 
vaders seated in groups on the grass eating and drinking, 
and preparing themselves by a hearty meal for the coming 
encounter. Their only consolation was to take advantage of 
the delay, while the enemy were carousing, to strengthen 
their position. The breastwork on the left of the redoubt 
extended to what was called the Slough, but beyond this, 
the ridge of the hill, and the slope toward Mystic River, 
were undefended, leaving a pass by which the enemy might 
turn the left flank of the position, and seize upon Bunker's 
Hill. Putnam ordered his chosen officer, Captain Knowlton, 
fco cover this pass with the Connecticut troops under his 
command. A novel kind of rampart, savoring of rude de- 
vice, was suggested by the rustic general. About six hun- 
dred feet in the rear of the redoubt, and about one hundred 
feet to the left of the breastwork, was a post and rail-fence, 
set in a low foot- wall of stone, and extending down to Mystic 
River. The posts and rails of another fence were hastily 
pulled up, and set a few feet in behind this, and the inter- 
mediate space was filled up with new-mown hay from the 
adjacent meadows. This double fence, it will be found, 
proved an important protection to the redoubt, although 
there still remained an unprotected interval of about seven 
hundred feet. 

While Knowlton and his men were putting up this fence, 
Putnam proceeded with other of his troops to throw up the 
work on Bunker's Hill, dispatching his son, Captain Put- 
nam, on horseback, to hurry up the remainder of his men 
from Cambridge. By this time, his compeer in French and 

444 U/or^s of U/asl?in$toi) Injip$ 

Indian warfare, the veteran Stark, made his appearance 
with the New Hampshire troops, five hundred strong. He 
had grown cool and wary with age, and his march from 
Medford, a distance of five or six miles, had been in char- 
acter. He led his men at a moderate pace, to bring them 
into action fresh and vigorous. In crossing the Neck, which 
was enfiladed by the enemy's ships and batteries, Captain 
Dearborn, who was by his side, suggested a quick step. The 
veteran shook his head. "One fresh man in action is worth 
ten tired ones," replied he, and marched steadily on. 

Putnam detained some of Stark's men to aid in throwing 
up the works on Bunker's Hill, and directed him to re-enforce 
Knowlton with the rest. Stark made a short speech to his 
men, now that they were likely to have warm work. He 
then pushed on, and did good service that day at the rustic 

About two o'clock Warren arrived on the heights, ready 
to engage in their perilous defense, although he had opposed 
the scheme of their occupation. He had recently been 
elected a major-general, but had not received his commis- 
sion; like Pomeroy, he came to serve in the ranks with a 
musket on his shoulder. Putnam offered him the command 
of the fence; he declined it, and merely asked where he 
could be of most service as a volunteer. Putnam pointed 
to the redoubt, observing that there he would be under cover. 
"Don't think I seek a place of safety," replied Warren, 
quickly; "where will the attack be hottest?" Putnam still 
pointed to the redoubt. "That is the enemy's object; if that 
can be maintained, the day is ours." 

Warren was cheered by the troops as he entered the re- 
doubt. Colonel Prescott tendered him the commando He 
again declined. "I have come to serve only as a volunteer, 

Cife of \I/asl?in$toi) 445 

and shall be happy to learn from a soldier of your expe- 
rience.' ' Such were the noble spirits assembled on these 
perilous heights. 

The British now prepared for a general assault. An 
easy victory was anticipated ; the main thought was how to 
make it most effectual. The left wing, commanded by Gen- 
eral Pigot, was to mount the hill and force the redoubt, 
while General Howe, with the right wing, was to push on 
between the fort and Mystic River, turn the left flank of 
the Americans, and cut off their retreat. 

General Pigot, accordingly, advanced up the hill, under 
cover of a fire from field-pieces and howitzers planted on a 
small height near the landing-place on Moulton's Point. 
His troops commenced a discharge of musketry while yet 
at a long distance from the redoubts. The Americans 
within the works, obedient to strict command, retained 
their fire until the enemy were within thirty or forty paces, 
when they opened upon them with a tremendous volley. 
Being all marksmen, accustomed to take deliberate aim, the 
slaughter was immense, and especially fatal to officers. The 
assailants fell back in some confusion; but, rallied on by 
their officers, advanced within pistol shot. Another volley, 
more effective than the first, made them again recoil. To 
add to their confusion, they were galled by a flanking fire 
from the handful of Provincials posted in Charlestown. 
Shocked at the carnage, and seeing the confusion of his 
troops, General Pigot was urged to give the word for a 

In the meantime, General Howe, with the right wing, 
advanced along Mystic River toward the fence where Stark, 
Read, and Knowlton were stationed, thinking to carry this 
slight breastwork with ease, and so get in the rear of the 

446 U/orl^s of U/as^ir^tor) Iruipo; 

fortress. His artillery proved of little avail, being stopped 
by a swampy piece of ground, while his columns suffered 
from two or three field -pieces with which Putnam had forti- 
fied the fence. Howe's men kept up a fire of musketry as 
they advanced ; but, not taking aim, their shot passed over 
the heads of the Americans. The latter had received the 
same orders with those in the redoubt, not to fire until the 
enemy should be within thirty paces. Some few transgressed 
the commaod. Putnam rode up and swore he would cut 
down the next man that fired contrary to orders. When the 
British arrived within the stated distance, a sheeted fire 
opened upon them from rifles, muskets, and fowling-pieces, 
all leveled with deadly aim. The carnage, as in the other 
instance, was horrible. The British were thrown into con- 
fusion, and fell back; some even retreated to their boats. 

There was a general pause on the part of the British. 
The American officers availed themselves of it to prepare 
for another attack, which must soon be made. Prescott 
mingled among his men in the redoubt, who were all in high 
spirits at the severe check they had given "the regulars." 
He praised them for their steadfastness in maintaining their 
post, and their good conduct in reserving their fire until the 
word of command, and exhorted them to do the same in 
the next attack. Putnam rode about Bunker's Hill and its 
skirts, to rally and bring on re-enforcements which had been 
checked or scattered in crossing Charlestown Neck by the 
raking fire from the ships and batteries. Before many could 
be brought to the scene of action the British had commenced 
their second attack. They again ascended the hill to storm 
the redoubt; their advance was covered as before by dis- 
charges of artillery. Charlestown, which had annoyed them 
on their first attack by a flanking fire, was in flames, by 

Cife of U/astyip^toi) 447 

shells thrown from Copp's Hill, and by marines from the 
ships. Being built of wood, the place was soon wrapped in 
a general conflagration. The thunder of artillery from bat- 
teries and ships ; the bursting of bomb-shells ; the sharp dis- 
charges of musketry; the shouts and yells of the combatants; 
the crash of burning buildings, and the dense volumes of 
smoke which obscured the summer sun, all formed a tre- 
mendous spectacle. "Sure I am," said Burgoyne in one of 
his letters— "Sure I am nothing ever has or ever can be 
more dreadfully terrible than what was to be seen or heard 
at this time. The most incessant discharge of guns that ever 
was heard by mortal ears." 

The American troops, although unused to war, stood un- 
dismayed amid a scene where it was bursting upon them 
with all its horrors. Reserving their fire, as before, until 
the enemy was close at hand, they again poured forth re- 
peated volleys with the fatal aim of sharpshooters. The 
British stood the first shock, and continued to advance ; but 
the incessant stream of fire staggered them. Their officers 
remonstrated, threatened, and even attempted to goad them 
on with their swords, but the havoc was too deadly ; whole 
ranks were mowed down ; many of the officers were either 
slain or wounded, and among them several of the staff of 
General Howe. The troops again gave way and retreated 
down the hill. 

All this passed under the eye of thousands of spectators 
of both sexes and all ages, watching from afar every turn 
of a battle in which the lives of those most dear to them were 
at hazard. The British soldiery in Boston gazed with aston* 
ishment, and almost incredulity, at the resolute and pro- 
tracted stand of raw militia whom they had been taught to 
despise, and at the havoc made among their own veteran 

44:8 U/orl^s of U/asI?ir;$toi) In/ii)$ 

troops. Every convoy of wounded brought over to the town 
increased their consternation, and General Clinton, who had 
watched the action from Copp's Hill, embarking in a boat, 
hurried over as a volunteer, taking with him re-enforce- 

A third attack was now determined on, though some of 
Howe's officers remonstrated, declaring it would be down- 
right butchery. A different plan was adopted. Instead of 
advancing in front of the redoubt, it was to be taken in flank 
on the left, where the open space between the breastwork and 
the fortified fence presented a weak point. It having been 
accidentally discovered that the ammunition of the Ameri- 
cans was nearly expended, preparations were made to carry 
the works at the point of the bayonet ; and the soldiery threw 
off their knapsacks, and some even their coats, to be more 
light for action. 

General Howe, with the main body, now made a feint of 
attacking the fortified fence ; but, while a part of his force 
were thus engaged, the rest brought some of the field-pieces 
to enfilade the breastwork on the left of the redoubt. A 
raking fire soon drove the Americans out of this exposed 
place into the inclosure. Much damage, too, was done in 
the latter by balls which entered the sally-port. 

The troops were now led on to assail the works; those 
who flinched were, as before, goaded on by the swords of 
the officers. The Americans again reserved their fire until 
their assailants were close at hand, and then made a mur- 
derous volley, by which several officers were laid low, and 
General Howe himself was wounded in the foot. The British 
soldiery this time likewise reserved their fire and rushed on 
with fixed bayonet. Clinton and Pigot had reached the 
southern and eastern sides of the redoubt, and it was now 

Cife of U/asl^ip^tor) 449 

assailed on three sides at once. Prescott ordered those who 
had no bayonets to retire to the back part of the redoubt, 
and fire on the enemy as they showed themselves on the 
parapet. The first who mounted exclaimed in triumph, 
"The day is ours!" He was instantly shot down, and so 
were several others who mounted about the same time. The 
Americans, however, had fired their last round, their am- 
munition was exhausted; and now succeeded a desperate 
and deadly struggle, hand to hand, with bayonets, stones, 
and the stocks of their muskets. At length, as the British 
continued to pour in, Prescott gave the order to retreat. His 
men had to cut their way through two divisions of the 
enemy who were getting in the rear of the redoubt, and they 
received a destructive volley from those who had formed on 
the captured works. By that volley fell the patriot Warren, 
who had distinguished himself throughout the action. He 
was among the last to leave the redoubt, and had scarce 
done so when he was shot through the head with a musket- 
ball, and fell dead on the spot. 

While the Americans were thus slowly dislodged from 
the redoubt, Stark, Read, and Knowlton maintained their 
ground at the fortified fence; which indeed had been nobly 
defended throughout the action. Pomeroy distinguished 
himself here by his snapshooting until his musket was shat- 
tered by a ball. The resistance at this hastily constructed 
work was kept up after the troops in the redoubt had given 
way, and until Colonel Prescott had left the hill; thus de- 
feating General Howe's design of cutting off the retreat of 
the main body ; which would have produced a scene of direful 
confusion and slaughter. Having effected their purpose, the 
brave associates at the fence abandoned their weak outposts, 
retiring slowly, and disputing the ground inch by inch, with 

450 U/or^s of U7asl?ii)$toi} Iruir;<$ 

a regularity remarkable in troops many of whom had never 
before been in action. 

The main retreat was across Bunker's Hill, where Put- 
nam had endeavored to throw up a breastwork. The vet- 
eran, sword in hand, rode to the rear of the retreating troops, 
regardless of the balls whistling about him. His only 
thought was to rally them at the unfinished works. "Halt! 
make a stand here!" cried he, "we can check them yet. In 
God's name, form, and give them one shot more." 

Pomeroy, wielding his shattered musket as a truncheon, 
seconded him in his efforts to stay the torrent. It was im- 
possible, however, to bring the troops to a stand. They con- 
tinued on down the hill to the Neck and across it to Cam- 
bridge, exposed to a raking fire from the ships and batteries, 
and only protected by a single piece of ordnance. The 
British were too exhausted to pursue them; they contented 
themselves with taking possession of Bunker's Hill, were 
re-enforced from Boston, and threw up additional works 
during the night. 

We have collected the preceding facts from various 
sources, examining them carefully, and endeavoring to 
arrange them with scrupulous fidelity. We may appear to 
have been more minute in the account of the battle than the 
number of troops engaged would warrant; but it was one 
of the most momentous conflicts in our Revolutionary his- 
tory. It was the first regular battle between the British and 
Americans, and most eventful in its consequences. The 
former had gained the ground for which they contended; 
but, if a victory, it was more disastrous and humiliating to 
them than an ordinary defeat. They had ridiculed and 
despised their enemy, representing them as dastardly and 
inefficient; yet here their best troops, led on by experienced 

Cife of U/asl?i9<$tor) 451 

officers, had repeatedly been repulsed by an inferior force of 
that enemy — mere yeomanry — from works thrown up in a 
single night, and had suffered a loss rarely paralleled in 
battle with the most veteran soldiery; for, according to their 
own returns, their killed and wounded, out of a detachment 
of two thousand men, amounted to one thousand and fifty- 
four, and a large proportion of them officers. The loss of 
the Americans did not exceed four hundred and fifty. 

To the latter this defeat, if defeat it might be called, had 
the effect of a triumph. It gave them confidence in them- 
selves and consequence in the eyes of their enemies. They 
had proved to themselves and to others that they could 
measure weapons with the disciplined soldiers of Europe, 
and inflict the most harm in the conflict. 

Among the British officers slain was Major Pitcairne, 
who, at Lexington, had shed the first blood in the Revolu- 
tionary war. 

In the death of Warren the Americans had to lament 
the loss of a distinguished patriot and a most estimable man. 
It was deplored as a public calamity. His friend, Elbridge 
Gerry, had endeavored to dissuade him from risking his life 
in this perilous conflict; "Dulce et decorum est pro patria 
mori," replied Warren, as if he had foreseen his fate — a fate 
to be envied by those ambitious of an honorable fame. He 
was one of the first who fell in the glorious cause of his 
country, and his name has become consecrated in its history. 

There has been much discussion of the relative merits of 
the American officers engaged in this affair — a difficult ques- 
tion where no one appears to have had the general com- 
mand. Prescott conducted the troops in the night enterprise > 
he superintended the building of the redoubt, and defended 
it throughout the battle ; his name, therefore, will ever shine 

452 U/or^s of U/asl?ii?<$tor> Iruii)©; 

most conspicuous, and deservedly so, on this bright page of 
our Revolutionary history. 

Putnam also was a leading spirit throughout the affair; 
one of the first to prompt and of the last to maintain it. He 
appears to have been active and efficient at every point; 
sometimes fortifying; sometimes hurrying up re-enforce- 
ments ; inspiriting the men by his presence while they were 
able to maintain their ground, and fighting gallantly at the 
outpost to cover their retreat. The brave old man, riding 
about in the heat of the action, on this sultry day, "with a 
hanger belted across his brawny shoulders, over a waistcoat 
without sleeves," has been sneered at by a contemporary, 
as "much fitter to head a band of sickle men or ditchers than 
musketeers." But this very description illustrates his char- 
acter, and identifies him. with the times and the service. A 
yeoman warrior fresh from the plow, in the garb of rural 
labor; a patriot brave and generous, but rough and ready, 
who thought not of himself in time of danger, but was ready 
to serve in any way, and to sacrifice official rank and self- 
glorification to the good of the cause. He was eminently a 
soldier for the occasion. His name has long been a favorite 
one with young and old ; one of the talismanic names of the 
Revolution, the very mention of which is like the sound of 
a trumpet. Such names are the precious jewels of our his- 
tory, to be garnered up among the treasures of the nation, 
and kept immaculate from the tarnishing breath of the cynic 
and the doubter. 


In treating of the battle of Bunker's Hill, and of other 
occurrences about Boston at this period of the Revolution, 
we have had repeated occasion to consult the History of the 

Cife of U/a8^iQ<$tor> 453 

Siege of Boston, by Richard Frothingham, Jr. ; a work 
abounding with facts as to persons and events, and full of 
interest for the American reader. 


Departure from Philadelphia — Anecdotes of General Schuyler — Of 
Lee — Tidings of Bunker's Hill — Military Councils —Population 
of New York — The Johnson Family — Governor Tryon — Arrival 
at New York — Military Instructions to Schuyler — Arrival at the 

In a preceding chapter we left Washington preparing to 
depart from Philadelphia for the army before Boston. He 
set out on horseback on the 21st of June, having for military 
companions of his journey Major-generals Lee and Schuyler, 
and being accompanied for a distance by several private 
friends. As an escort he had a "gentleman troop" of Phila- 
delphia, commanded by Captain Markoe; the whole formed 
a brilliant cavalcade. 

General Schuyler was a man eminently calculated to 
sympathize with Washington in all his patriotic views and 
feelings, and became one of his most faithful coadjutors. 
Sprung from one of the earliest and most respectable Dutch 
families which colonized New York, all his interests and 
affections were identified with the country. He had received 
a good education; applied himself at an early age to the 
exact sciences, and became versed in finance, military en- 
gineering, and political economy. He was one of those 
native-born soldiers who had acquired experience in that 
American school of arms, the old French war. When but 
twenty-two years of age he commanded a company of New 
York levies under Sir William Johnson, of Mohawk renown, 

454 U/orl^s of U/as^ip^toi) Iruir?$ 

which gave him an early opportunity of becoming acquainted 
with the Indian tribes, their country and their policy. In 
1758 he was in Abercrombie's expedition against Ticon- 
deroga, accompanying Lord Viscount Howe as chief of the 
commissariat department; a post well qualified to give him 
experience in the business part of war. When that gallant 
young nobleman fell on the banks of Lake George, Schuyler 
conveyed his corpse back to Albany, and attended to his 
honorable obsequies. Since the close of the French war he 
had served his country in various civil stations, and been one 
of the most zealous and eloquent vindicators of colonial 
rights. He was one of the "glorious minority" of the New 
York General Assembly — George Clinton, Colonel Wood- 
hull, Colonel Philip Livingston, and others — who, when that 
body was timid and wavering, battled nobly against British 
influence and oppression. His last stand had been recently 
as a delegate to Congress, where he had served with Wash- 
ington on the committee to prepare rules and regulations for 
the army, and where the latter had witnessed his judgment, 
activity, practical science, and sincere devotion to the cause. 
Many things concurred to produce perfect harmony of 
operation between these distinguished men. They were 
nearly of the same age, Schuyler being one year the young- 
er. Both were men of agricultural, as well as military, 
tastes. Both were men of property, living at their ease in 
little rural paradises; Washington on the grove-clad heights 
of Mount Vernon, Schuyler on the pastoral banks of the 
upper Hudson, where he had a noble estate at Saratoga, 
inherited from an uncle; and the old family mansion, near 
the city of Albany, half hid among ancestral trees. Yet both 
were exiling themselves from these happy abodes, and put- 
ting life and fortune at hazard in the service of their country. 

Cife of U/as^ip<$toi> 455 

Schuyler and Lee had early military recollections to draw 
them together. Both had served under Abercrombie in the 
expedition against Ticonderoga. There was some part of 
Lee's conduct in that expedition which both he and Schuyler 
might deem it expedient at this moment to forget. Lee was 
at that time a young captain, naturally presumptuous, and 
flushed with the arrogance of military power. On his march 
along the banks of the Hudson, he acted as if in a conquered 
country, impressing horses and oxen, and seizing upon sup- 
plies without exhibiting any proper warrant. It was enough 
for him, "they were necessary for the service of his troops.' ' 
Should any one question his right, the reply was a volley of 

Among those who experienced this unsoldierly treatment 
was Mrs. Schuyler, the aunt of the general ; a lady of aristo- 
cratical station, revered throughout her neighborhood. Her 
cattle were impressed, herself insulted. She had her revenge. 
After the unfortunate affair of Ticonderoga, a number of the 
wounded were brought down along the Hudson to the Schuy- 
ler mansion. Lee was among the number. The high-minded 
mistress of the house never alluded to his past conduct. He 
was received like his brother officers with the kindest sym- 
pathy. Sheets and tablecloths were torn up to serve as band- 
ages. Everything was done to alleviate their sufferings. 
Lee's cynic heart was conquered. "He swore in his vehe- 
ment manner that he was sure there would be a place re- 
served for Mrs. Schuyler in heaven, though no other woman 
should be there, and that he should wish for nothing better 
than to share her final destiny!" * 

* Memoirs of an American Lady (Mrs. Grant, of Dag- 
gan), vol. ii., chap. ix. 

456 U/or^s of U/asl?ii}$ton Irvine; 

Seventeen years had since elapsed, and Lee and the 
nephew of Mrs. Schuyler were again allied in military ser- 
vice, but under a different banner ; and recollections of past 
times must have given peculiar interest to their present in- 
tercourse. In fact, the journey of Washington with his as- 
sociate generals, experienced like him in the wild expeditions 
of the old French war, was a revival of early campaigning 

They had scarcely proceeded twenty miles from Phila- 
delphia when they were met by a courier, spurring with all 
speed, bearing dispatches from the army to Congress, com- 
municating tidings of the battle of Bunker's Hill. Wash- 
ington eagerly inquired particulars ; above all, how acted the 
militia? When told that they stood their ground bravely; 
sustained the enemy's fire; reserved their own until at 
close quarters, and then delivered it with deadly effect; it 
seemed as if a weight of doubt and solicitude were lifted 
from his heart. "The liberties of the country are safe!" 
exclaimed he. 

The news of the battle of Bunker's Hill had startled the 
whole country; and this clattering cavalcade escorting the 
commander-in-chief to the army was the gaze and wonder 
of every town and village. 

The journey may be said to have been a continual coun- 
cil of war between Washington and the two generals. Even 
the contrast in character of the two latter made them regard 
questions from different points of view. Schuyler, a warm- 
hearted patriot, with everything staked on the cause; Lee, a 
soldier of fortune, indifferent to the ties of home and coun- 
try, drawing his sword without enthusiasm — more through 
resentment against a government which had disappointed 
him than zeal for liberty or for colonial rights. 

Cife of WastyvQtoT) 457 

One of the most frequent subjects of conversation was 
the province of New York. Its power and position rendered 
it the great link of the confederacy; what measures were 
necessary for its defense, and most calculated to secure its 
adherence to the cause? A lingering attachment to the 
crown, kept up by the influence of British merchants, and 
military and civil functionaries in royal pay, had rendered 
it slow in coming into the colonial compact ; and it was only 
on the contemptuous dismissal of their statement of griev- 
ances, unheard, that its people had thrown off their alle- 
giance as much in sorrow as in anger. 

No person was better fitted to give an account of the inte- 
rior of New York than General Schuyler; and the hawk- 
eyed Lee during a recent sojourn had made its capital some- 
what of a study ; but there was much yet for both of them 
to learn. 

The population of New York was more varied in its ele- 
ments than that of almost any other of the provinces, and 
had to be cautiously studied. The New Yorkers were of a 
mixed origin, and stamped with the peculiarities of their re- 
spective ancestors. The descendants of the old Dutch and 
Huguenot families, the earliest settlers, were still among the 
soundest and best of the population. They inherited the love 
of liberty, civil and religious, of their forefathers, and were 
those who stood foremost in the present struggle for popular 
rights. Such were the Jays, the Bensons, the Beekmans, 
the Hoffmans, the Van Homes, the Roosevelts, the Duy- 
ckinks, the Pintards, the Yateses, and others whose names 
figure in the patriotic documents of the day. Some of them, 
doubtless, cherished a remembrance of the time when their 
forefathers were lords of the land, and felt an innate pro- 
pensity to join in resistance to the government by which 

* * * T— Vol. XII. 

458 U/or^8 of U/as^ip^toi) Irving 

their supremacy had been overturned. A great proportion 
of the more modern families, dating from the downfall of 
the Dutch government in 1664, were English and Scotch, 
and among these were many loyal adherents to the crown. 
Then there was a mixture of the whole, produced by the in- 
termarriages of upward of a century, which partook of every 
shade of character and sentiment. The operations of foreign 
commerce, and the regular communications with the mother 
country through packets and ships of war, kept these ele- 
ments in constant action, and contributed to produce that 
mercurial temperament, that fondness for excitement and 
proneness to pleasure, which distinguished them from their 
neighbors on either side — the austere Puritans of New Eng- 
land, and the quiet " Friends" of Pennsylvania. 

There was a power, too, of a formidable kind within the 
interior of the province, which was an object of much solici- 
tude. This was the " Johnson Family." We have re- 
peatedly had occasion to speak of Sir William Johnson, 
his majesty's general agent for Indian affairs, of his great 
wealth, and his almost sovereign sway over the Six Nations. 
He had originally received that appointment through the in- 
fluence of the Schuyler family. Both Generals Schuyler 
and Lee, when young men, had campaigned with him ; and 
it was among the Mohawk warriors, who rallied under his 
standard, that Lee had beheld his vaunted models of good- 

In the recent difficulties between the crown and colonies, 
Sir William had naturally been in favor of the government 
which had enriched and honored him, but he had viewed 
with deep concern the acts of Parliament which were goad- 
ing the colonies to armed resistance. In the height of his 
solicitude, he received dispatches ordering him, in case of 

Cife of U/asl?in<$tor; 459 

hostilities, to enlist the Indians in the cause of government. 
To the agitation of feelings produced by these orders many 
have attributed a stroke of apoplexy, of which he died, on 
the 11th of July, 1774, about a year before the time of which 
we are treating. 

His son and heir, Sir John Johnson, and his sons-in-law, 
Colonel Guy Johnson and Colonel Clause, felt none of the 
reluctance of Sir William to use harsh measures in support 
of royalty. They lived in a degree of rude feudal style in 
stone mansions capable of defense, situated on the Mohawk 
River and in its vicinity ; they had many Scottish Highland- 
ers for tenants; and among their adherents were violent 
men, such as the Butlers of Tryon County, and Brant, the 
Mohawk sachem, since famous in Indian warfare. They 
had recently gone about with armed retainers, overawing 
and breaking up patriotic assemblages, and it was known 
they could at any time bring a force of warriors in the field. 

Recent accounts stated that Sir John was fortifying the 
old family hall at Johnstown with swivels, and had a hun- 
dred and fifty Roman Catholic Highlanders quartered in and 
about it, all armed and ready to obey his orders. 

Colonel Guy Johnson, however, was the most active and 
zealous of the family. Pretending to apprehend a design on 
the part of the New England people to surprise and carry 
him off, he fortified his stone mansion on the Mohawk, called 
Guy's Park, and assembled there a part of his militia regi- 
ment, and other of his adherents, to the number of five hun- 
dred. He held a great Indian council there, likewise, in 
which the chiefs of the Six Nations recalled the friendship 
and good deeds of the late Sir William Johnson, and avowed 
their determination to stand by and defend every branch of 
his family. 

460 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$tOf} Irvii?o; 

As yet it was uncertain whether Colonel Guy really in- 
tended to take an open part in the appeal to arms. Should 
he do so, he would carry with him a great force of the native 
tribes, and might almost domineer over the frontier. 

Tryon, the governor of New York, was at present absent 
in England, having been called home by the ministry to give 
an account of the affairs of the province, and to receive in- 
structions for its management. He was a tory in heart, and 
had been a zealous opponent of all colonial movements, and 
his talents and address gave him great influence over an 
important part of the community. Should he return with 
hostile instructions, and should he and the Johnsons co-oper- 
ate, the one controlling the bay and harbor of New York 
and the waters of the Hudson by means of ships and land 
forces ; the others overrunning the valley of the Mohawk and 
the regions beyond Albany with savage hordes, this great 
central province might be wrested from the confederacy, 
and all intercourse broken off between the eastern and south- 
ern colonies. 

All these circumstances and considerations, many of 
which came under discussion in the course of this military 
journey, rendered the command of New York a post of espe- 
cial trust and importance, and determined Washington to 
confide it to General Schuyler. He was peculiarly fitted for 
it by his military talents, his intimate knowledge of the prov- 
ince and its concerns, especially what related to the upper 
parts of it, and his experience in Indian affairs. 

At Newark, in the Jerseys, Washington was met on the 
25th by a committee of the provincial Congress, sent to con- 
duct him to the city. The Congress was in a perplexity. It 
had in a manner usurped and exercised the powers of Gov- 
ernor Tryon during his absence, while at the same time it 

Cife of WastyvqtoT) 461 

professed allegiance to the crown which had appointed him. 
He was now in the harbor, just arrived from England, and 
hourly expected to land. Washington, too, was approach- 
ing. How were these double claims to ceremonious respect, 
happening at the same time, to be managed? 

In this dilemma a regiment of militia was turned out, 
and the colonel instructed to pay military honors to which- 
ever of the distinguished functionaries should first arrive. 
Washington was earlier than the governor by several hours, 
and received those honors. Peter Van Burgh Livingston, 
president of the New York Congress, next delivered a con- 
gratulatory address, the latter part of which evinces the cau- 
tious reserve with which, in these Revolutionary times, mili- 
tary power was intrusted to an individual : 

1 'Confiding in you, sir, and the worthy generals imme- 
diately under your command, we have the most flattering 
hopes of success in the glorious struggle for American lib- 
erty, and the fullest assurance that whenever this impor- 
tant contest shall be decided by that fondest wish of each 
American soul, an accommodation with our mother coun- 
try, you will cheerfully resign the important deposit com- 
mitted into your hands, and reassume the character of 
our worthiest citizen." 

The following was Washington's reply, in behalf of him- 
self and his generals, to this part of the address : 

"As to the fatal, but necessary operations of war, when 
we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen ; and 
we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour, 
when the establishment of American liberty on the most firm 
and solid foundations shall enable us to return to our pri- 
vate stations, in the bosom of a free, peaceful, and happy 

462 U/orl{8 of U/as^ip^top Irvip$ 

The landing of Governor Tryon took place about eight 
o'clock in the evening. The military honors were repeated ; 
he was received with great respect by the mayor and com- 
mon council, and transports of loyalty by those devoted to the 
crown. It was unknown what instructions he had received 
from the ministry, but it was rumored that a large force 
would soon arrive from England, subject to his directions. 
At this very moment a ship of war, the "Asia," lay an- 
chored opposite the city; its grim batteries bearing upon 
it, greatly to the disquiet of the faint-hearted among its 

In this situation of affairs Washington was happy to 
leave such an efficient person as General Schuyler in com- 
mand of the place. According to his instructions, the latter 
was to make returns once a month, and oftener, should cir- 
cumstances require it, to Washington, as commander-in- 
chief, and to the Continental Congress, of the forces under 
him, and the state of his supplies; and to send the earliest 
advices of all events of importance. He was to keep a wary 
eye on Colonel Guy Johnson, and to counteract any prejudi- 
cial influence he might exercise over the Indians. With re- 
spect to Governor Tryon, Washington hinted at a bold and 
decided line of conduct. "If forcible measures are judged 
necessary respecting the person of the governor, I should 
have no difficulty in ordering them, if the Continental Con- 
gress were not sitting; but as that is the case, and the seiz- 
ing of a governor quite a new thing, I must refer you to 
that body for direction. ' ' 

Had Congress thought proper to direct such a measure, 
Schuyler certainly would have been the man to execute it. 

At New York, Washington had learned all the details of 
the battle of Bunker's Hill; they quickened his impatience 

Cife of U/a8t>ii)<$toi) 463 

to arrive at the camp. He departed, therefore, on the 26th, 
accompanied by General Lee, and escorted as far as Kings- 
bridge, the termination of New York Island, by Markoe's 
Philadelphia light horse, and several companies of militia. 

In the meantime, the provincial Congress of Massachu- 
setts, then in session at Watertown, had made arrangements 
for the expected arrival of Washington. According to a re- 
solve of that body, "the president's house in Cambridge, ex- 
cepting one room reserved by the president for his own use, 
was to be taken, cleared, prepared and furnished for the re- 
ception of the Commander-in-Chief and General Lee. The 
Congress had likewise sent on a deputation which met Wash- 
ington at Springfield, on the frontiers of the province, and 
provided escorts and accommodations for him along the 
road. Thus honorably attended from town to town, and 
escorted by volunteer companies and cavalcades of gentle- 
men, he arrived at Watertown on the 2d of July, where he 
was greeted by Congress with a congratulatory address, in 
which, however, was frankly stated the undisciplined state 
of the army he was summoned to command. An address of 
cordial welcome was likewise made to General Lee. 

The ceremony over, Washington was again in the saddle, 
and, escorted by a troop of light horse and a cavalcade of 
citizens, proceeded to the headquarters provided for him at 
Cambridge, three miles distant. As he entered the confines 
of the camp, the shouts of the multitude and the thundering 
of artillery gave note to the enemy beleaguered in Boston of 
his arrival. 

His military reputation had preceded him, and excited 
great expectations. They were not disappointed. His per- 
sonal appearance, notwithstanding the dust of travel, was 
calculated to captivate the public eye. As he rode through 

464 U/or^s of U/asl?ir)$toi) Irvii}^ 

the camp, amid a throng of officers, he was the admiration 
of the soldiery, and of a curious throng collected from the 
surrounding country. Happy was the countryman who 
could get a full view of him, to carry home an account of 
it to his neighbors. "I have been much gratified this day 
with a view of General "Washington," writes a contemporary 
chronicler. "His Excellency was on horseback, in company 
with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to dis- 
tinguish him from all others. He is tall and well-propor- 
tioned, and his personal appearance truly noble and majes- 
tic." * 

The fair sex were still more enthusiastic in their admira- 
tion, if we may judge from the following passage of a letter 
written by the intelligent and accomplished wife of John 
Adams to her husband: "Dignity, ease, and complacency, 
the gentleman and the soldier, look agreeably blended in 
him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face. 
Those lines of Dryden instantly occurred to me : 

" 'Mark his majestic fabric! He's a temple 
Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine; 
His soul's the deity that lodges there ; 
Nor is the pile unworthy of the god.' " 

With Washington, modest at all times, there was no false 
excitement on the present occasion; nothing to call forth 
emotions of self-glorification. The honors and congratula- 
tions with which he was received, the acclamations of the 
public, the cheerings of the army, only told him how much 
was expected from him ; and when he looked round upon 
the raw and rustic levies he was to command, "a mixed mul- 
titude of people, under very little discipline, order, or gov- 

* Thacher. — Military Journal. 

Cife of U/asl?in$torj 465 

ernment," scattered in rough encampments about hill and 
dale, beleaguering a city garrisoned by veteran troops, with 
ships of war anchored about its harbor, and strong outposts 
guarding it, he felt the awful responsibility of his situation, 
and the complicated and stupendous task before him. He 
spoke of it, however, not despondingly, nor boastfully and 
with defiance ; but with that solemn and sedate resolution, 
and that hopeful reliance on Supreme Goodness, which be- 
longed to his magnanimous nature. The cause of his coun- 
try, he observed, had called him to an active and dangerous 
duty, but he trusted that Divine Providence, which wisely 
orders the affairs of men, would enable him to discharge 
it with fidelity and success.* 



Washington takes Command of the Armies — Sketch of General Lee 
— Characters of the British Commanders, Howe, Clinton, and 
Burgoyne — Survey of the Camps from Prospect Hill — The 
Camps contrasted — Description of the Revolutionary Army — 
Rhode Island Troops — Character of General Greene — Washing- 
ton represents the Deficiencies of the Army — His Apology for 
the Massachusetts Troops — Governor Trumbull — Cragie House, 
Washington's Headquarters 

On the 3d of July, the morning after his arrival at Cam- 
bridge, Washington took formal command of the army. It 
was drawn up on the Common about half a mile from head- 
quarters. A multitude had assembled there, for as yet mili- 

* Letter to Governor Trumbull. — Sparks, iii. 31. 

466 U/orl^g of U/asbir^top Iruip$ 

taiy spectacles were novelties, and the camp was full of vfei- 
tors, men, women, and children, from all parts of the country, 
who had relatives among the yeoman soldiery. 

An ancient elm is still pointed out, under which "Wash- 
ington, as he arrived from headquarters, accompanied by 
General Lee and a numerous suit, wheeled his horse, and 
drew his sword as commander-in-chief of the armies. "We 
have cited the poetical description of him furnished by the 
pen of Mrs. Adams ; we give her sketch of his military com- 
peer — less poetical, but no less graphic. 

"General Lee looks like a careless, hardy veteran ; and 
by his appearance brought to my mind his namesake, Charles 
XII. of Sweden. The elegance of his pen far exceeds that 
of his person." * 

Accompanied by this veteran campaigner, on whose mili- 
tary judgment he had great reliance, "Washington visited the 
different American posts, and rode to the heights, command- 
ing views over Boston and its environs, being anxious to 
make himself acquainted with the strength and relative po- 
sition of both armies : and here we will give a few particu- 
lars concerning the distinguished commanders with whom 
he was brought immediately in competition. 

Congress, speaking of them reproachfully, observed, 
"Three of England's most experienced generals are sent 
to wage war with their fellow-subjects." The first here 
alluded to was the Honorable "William Howe, next in com- 
mand to Gage. He was a man of fine presence, six feet 
high, well-proportioned, and of graceful deportment. He 
is said to have been not unlike Washington in appearance, 
though wanting his energy and activity. He lacked also 

* Mrs. Adams to John Adams, 1775. 

Cife of U/asl?ir?$toi> 467 

his air of authority ; but affability of manners, and a gen- 
erous disposition, made him popular with both officers and 

There was a sentiment in his favor even among Ameri- 
cans at the time when he arrived at Boston. It was remem- 
bered that he was brother to the gallant and generous youth, 
Lord Howe, who fell in the flower of his days, on the banks 
of Lake George, and whose untimely death had been la- 
mented throughout the colonies. It was remembered that 
the general himself had won reputation in the same cam 
paign, commanding the light infantry under Wolfe, on the 
famous Plains of Abraham. A mournful feeling had there- 
fore gone through the country, when General Howe was 
cited as one of the British commanders who had most dis- 
tinguished themselves in the bloody battle of Bunker's Hill. 
Congress spoke of it with generous sensibility, in their ad- 
dress to the people of Ireland, already quoted. "America is 
amazed," said they, "to find the name of Howe on the cata- 
logue of her enemies — she loved his brother!" 

General Henry Clinton, the next in command, was grand- 
son of the Earl of Lincoln, and son of George Clinton, who 
had been governor of the province of New York for ten 
years, from 1743. The general had seen service on the Con- 
tinent in the Seven Years' War. He was of short stature, 
and inclined to corpulency ; with a full face and prominent 
nose. His manners were reserved, and altogether he was in 
strong contrast with Howe, and by no means so popular. 

Burgoyne, the other British general of note, was natural 
son of Lord Bingley, and had entered the army at an early 
age. While yet a subaltern, he had made a runaway match 
with a daughter of the Earl of Derby, who threatened never 
to admit the offenders to his presence. In 1758, Burgoyne 

468 Worlds of U7asl?iD<$toi) Irvir;$ 

was a lieutenant-colonel of light dragoons. In 1761, he was 
sent with a force to aid the Portuguese against the Spaniards, 
joined the army commanded by the Count de la Lippe, and 
signalized himself by surprising and capturing the town of 
Alcantara. He had since been elected to Parliament for the 
borough of Middlesex, and displayed considerable parlia- 
mentary talents. In 1772, he was made a major-general. 
His taste, wit, and intelligence, and his aptness at devising 
and promoting elegant amusements, made him for a time 
a leader in the gay world; though Junius accuses him of 
unfair practices at the gaming-table. His reputation for 
talents and services had gradually mollified the heart of his 
father-in-law, the Earl of Derby. In 1774, he gave celebrity 
to the marriage of a son of the earl with Lady Betty Ham- 
ilton, by producing an elegant dramatic trifle, entitled, "The 
Maid of the Oaks," afterward performed at Drury Lane, 
and honored with a biting sarcasm by Horace Walpole. 
"There is a new puppet-show at Drury Lane," writes the 
wit, "as fine as the scenes can make it, and as dull as the 
author could not help making it." * 

It is but justice to Burgoyne's memory to add, that in 
after years he produced a dramatic work, "The Heiress," 
which extorted even Walpole's approbation, who pronounced 
it the genteelest comedy in the English language. 

Such were the three British commanders at Boston, who 
were considered especially formidable; and they had with 
them eleven thousand veteran troops, well appointed and 

In visiting the different posts, Washington halted for a 
time on Prospect Hill, which, as its name denotes, com- 

* Walpole to the Hon. W. S. Conway. 

Cife of U/asl?ii7<$toi) 469 

manded a wide view over Boston and the surrounding coun- 
try. Here Putnam had taken his position after the battle 
of Bunker's Hill, fortifying himself with works which he 
deemed impregnable ; and here the veteran was enabled to 
point out to the commander-in-chief, and to Lee, the main 
features of the belligerent region which lay spread out like a 
map before them. 

Bunker's Hill was but a mile distant to the west; the 
British standard floating as if in triumph on its summit. 
The main force under General Howe was intrenching itself 
strongly about half a mile beyond the place of the recent 
battle. Scarlet uniforms gleamed about the hill; tents and 
marquees whitened its sides. All up there was bright, bril- 
liant, and triumphant. At the base of the hill lay Charles- 
town in ashes, "nothing to be seen of that fine town but 
chimneys and rubbish." 

Howe's sentries extended a hundred and fifty yards 
beyond the neck or isthmus, over which the Americans 
retreated after the battle. Three floating batteries in Mystic 
River commanded this isthmus, and a twenty-gun ship was 
anchored between the peninsula and Boston. 

General Gage, the commander-in-chief, still had his head- 
quarters in the town, but there were few troops there besides 
Burgoyne's light horse. A large force, however, was in- 
trenched south of the town on the neck leading to Roxbury 
— the only entrance to Boston by land. 

The American troops were irregularly distributed in a 
kind of semicircle eight or nine miles in extent; the left rest- 
ing on "Winter Hill, the most northern post; the right extend- 
ing on the south to Roxbury and Dorchester Neck. 

Washington reconnoitered the British posts from various 
points of view. Everything about them was in admirable 

470 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvio$ 

order. The works appeared to be constructed with military 
science, the troops to be in a high state of discipline. The 
American camp, on the contrary, disappointed him. He 
had expected to find eighteen or twenty thousand men under 
arms; there were not much more than fourteen thousand. 
He had expected to find some degree of system and dis- 
cipline ; whereas all were raw militia. He had expected to 
find works scientifically constructed, and proofs of knowledge 
and skill in engineering; whereas, what he saw of the latter 
was very imperfect, and confined to the mere manual exer- 
cise of cannon. There was abundant evidence of aptness at 
trenching and throwing up rough defenses ; and in that way 
General Thomas had fortified Roxbury Neck, and Putnam 
had strengthened Prospect Hill. But the semicircular line 
which linked the extreme posts was formed of rudely con- 
structed works, far too extensive for the troops which were 
at hand to man them. 

Within this attenuated semicircle, the British forces lay 
concentrated and compact; and having command of the 
water, might suddenly bring their main strength to bear 
upon some weak point, force it, and sever the American 

In fact, when we consider the scanty, ill-conditioned, and 
irregular force which had thus stretched itself out to be- 
leaguer a town and harbor defended by ships and floating 
batteries, and garrisoned by eleven thousand strongly posted 
veterans, we are at a loss whether to attribute its hazardous 
position to ignorance or to that daring self-confidence which 
at times, in our military history, has snatched success in defi- 
ance of scientific rules. It was revenge for the slaughter at 
Lexington which, we are told, first prompted the investment 
of Boston. "The universal voice," says a contemporary, 

Cife of U/asfyiQ^top 471 

6 'is, starve them out. Drive them from the town, and let 
his majesty's ships be their only place of refuge." 

In riding throughout the camp, "Washington observed 
that nine thousand of the troops belonged to Massachusetts; 
the rest were from other provinces. They were encamped 
in separate bodies, each with its own regulations, and officers 
of its own appointment. Some had tents, others were in 
barracks, and others sheltered themselves as best they might. 
Many were sadly in want of clothing, and all, said Wash- 
ington, were strongly imbued with the spirit of insubordina- 
tion, which they mistook for independence. 

A chaplain of one of the regiments * has left on record 
a graphic sketch of this primitive army of the Revolution. 
"It is very diverting," writes he, "to walk among the camps. 
They are as different in their forms as the owners are in 
their dress; and every tent is a portraiture of the temper and 
taste of the persons who encamp in it. Some are made of 
boards, and some are made of sail-cloth ; some are partly 
of one, and partly of the other. Again, others are made of 
stone and turf, brick and brush. Some are thrown up in 
a hurry, others curiously wrought with wreaths and withes." 

One of the encampments, however, was in striking con- 
trast with the rest, and might vie with those of the British 
for order and exactness. Here were tents and marquees 
pitched in the English style; soldiers well drilled and well 
equipped ; everything had an air of discipline and subordina- 
tion. It was a body of Rhode Island troops, which had been 
raised, drilled, and brought to the camp by Brigadier-gen- 
eral Greene, of that province, whose subsequent renown 
entitles him to an introduction to the reader. 

* The Rev. William Emerson. 

472 U/orKs of U/as^ip^toi) Iruipo 

Nathaniel Greene was born in Rhode Island, on the 26th 
of May, 1742. His father was a miller, an anchor-smith, 
and a Quaker preacher. The waters of the Potowhammet 
turned the wheels of the mill, and raised the ponderous 
sledge-hammer of the forge. Greene, in his boyhood, fol- 
lowed the plow, and occasionally worked at the forge of his 
father. His education was of an ordinary kind ; but having 
an early thirst for knowledge, he applied himself sedulously 
to various studies, while subsisting by the labor of his hands. 
Nature had endowed him with quick parts, and a sound 
judgment, and his assiduity was crowned with success. He 
became fluent and instructive in conversation, and his letters, 
still extant, show that he held an able pen. 

In the late turn of public affairs, he had caught the bel- 
ligerent spirit prevalent throughout the country. Plutarch 
and CsBsar's Commentaries became his delight. He applied 
himself to military studies, for which he was prepared by 
some knowledge of mathematics. His ambition was to 
organize and discipline a corps of militia to which he be- 
longed. For this purpose, during a visit to Boston, he had 
taken note of everything about the discipline of the British 
troops. In the month of May, he had been elected com- 
mander of the Rhode Island contingent of the army of 
observation, and in June had conducted to the lines before 
Boston, three regiments, whose encampment we have just 
described, and who were pronounced the best disciplined and 
appointed troops in the army. 

Greene made a soldierlike address to Washington, wel- 
coming him to the camp. His appearance and manner were 
calculated to make a favorable impression. He was about 
thirty-nine years of age, nearly six feet high, well built and 
vigorous, with an open, animated, intelligent countenance, 

Cife of U/asI?ir)<$toi) 473 

and a frank, manly demeanor. He may be said to have 
stepped at once into the confidence of the commander-in- 
chief, which he never forfeited, but became one of his most 
attached, faithful, and efficient coadjutors throughout the war. 

Having taken his survey of the army, Washington wrote 
to the President of Congress, representing its various de- 
ficiencies, and, among other things, urging the appointment 
of a commissary-general, a quartermaster general, a com- 
missary of musters, and a commissary of artillery. Above 
all things, he requested a supply of money as soon as pos- 
sible. "I find myself already much embarrassed for want 
of a military chest.'* 

In one of his recommendations we have an instance of 
frontier expediency, learned in his early campaigns. Speak- 
ing of the ragged condition of the army, and the difficulty of 
procuring the requisite kind of clothing, he advises that a 
number of hunting-shirts, not less than ten thousand, should 
be provided; as being the cheapest and quickest mode of 
supplying this necessity. "I know nothing in a speculative 
view more trivial," observes he, "yet which, if put in prac- 
tice, would have a happier tendency to unite the men, and 
abolish those provincial distinctions that lead to jealousy 
and dissatisfaction." 

Among the troops most destitute were those belonging 
to Massachusetts, which formed the larger part of the army. 
Washington made a noble apology for them. "This un- 
happy and devoted province," said he, "has been so long 
in a state of anarchy, and the yoke has been laid so heavily 
on it, that great allowances are to be made for troops raised 
under such circumstances. The deficiency of numbers, dis- 
cipline, and stores, can only lead to this conclusion, that 
their spirit has exceeded their strength." 

474 U/or^e of U/as^ip^toi) Irulp? 

This apology was the more generous, coming from a 
Southerner, for there was a disposition among the Southern 
officers to regard the Eastern troops disparagingly. But 
Washington already felt as commander-in-chief, who looked 
with an equal eye on all ; or rather as a true patriot, who 
was above all sectional prejudices. 

One of the most efficient co-operators of "Washington at 
this time, and throughout the war, was Jonathan Trumbull, 
the Governor of Connecticut. He was a well-educated man, 
experienced in public business, who had sat for many years 
in the legislative councils of his native province. Misfortune 
had cast him down from affluence, at an advanced period 
of life, but had not subdued his native energy. He had 
been one of the leading spirits of the Revolution, and the 
only colonial governor who, at its commencement, proved 
true to the popular cause. He was now sixty-five years of 
age, active, zealous, devout, a patriot of the primitive New 
England stamp, whose religion sanctified his patriotism. A 
letter addressed by him to Washington, just after the latter 
had entered upon the command, is worthy of the purest 
days of the Covenanters. "Congress/' writes he, "have, 
with one united voice, appointed you to the high station you 
possess. The Supreme Director of all events hath caused a 
wonderful union of hearts and counsels to subsist among us. 

"Now, therefore, be strong and very courageous. May 
the God of the armies of Israel shower down the blessings 
of his Divine providence on you ; give you wisdom and forti- 
tude, cover your head in the day of battle and danger, add 
success, convince our enemies of their mistaken measures^ 
and that all their attempts to deprive these colonies of their 
inestimable constitutional rights and liberties are injurious 
and vain." 

Cife of \JJas\)iT)$tOT) 475 


We are obliged to Professor Felton, of Cambridge, for 
correcting an error in our first volume in regard to Washing- 
ton's headquarters, and for some particulars concerning a 
house, associated with the history and literature of our 

The house assigned to Washington for headquarters was 
that of the president of the Provincial Congress, not of the 
University. It had been one of those tory mansions noticed 
by the Baroness Reidesel, in her mention of Cambridge. 
4 'Seven families, who were connected by relationship, or 
lived in great intimacy, had here farms, gardens, and 
splendid mansions, and not far off, orchards; and the build- 
ings were at a quarter of a mile distant from each other. 
The owners had been in the habit of assembling every after- 
noon in one or other of these houses, and of diverting them- 
selves with music or dancing ; and lived in affluence, in good 
humor, and without care, until this unfortunate war dis- 
persed them, and transformed all these houses into solitary 

The house in question was confiscated by government. 
It stood on the Watertown road, about half a mile west of 
the college, and has long been known as the Cragie House, 
from the name of Andrew Cragie, a wealthy gentleman, 
who purchased it after the war, and revived its former 
hospitality. He is said to have acquired great influence 
among the leading members of the "great and general 
court," by dint of jovial dinners. He died long ago, but 
his widow survived until within fifteen years. She was a 
woman of much talent and singularity. She refused to have 
the canker worms destroyed, when they were making sad 
ravages among the beautiful trees on the lawn before the 
house. "We are all worms," said she, "and they have as 
good a right here as I have." The consequence was that 
more than half of the trees perished. 

The Cragie House is associated with American literature 

476 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir?$t:oi) Iruin<$ 

through some of its subsequent occupants. Mr. Edward 
Everett resided in it the first year or two after his marriage. 
Later, Mr. Jared Sparks, during part of the time that he 
was preparing his collection of "Washington's writings; edit- 
ing a volume or two of his letters in the very room from 
which they were written. Next came Mr. Worcester, author 
of the pugnacious dictionary, and of many excellent books; 
and lastly Longfellow, the poet, who, having married the 
heroine of Hyperion, purchased the house of the heirs of 
Mr. Cragie, and refitted it. 


Questions of Military Rank — Popularity of Putnam — Arrangements 
at Headquarters — Colonel Mifflin and John Trumbull, Aides-de- 
Camp — Joseph Reed, Washington's Secretary and Confidential 
Friend — Gates as Adjutant-General — Hazardous Situation of the 
Army — Strengthening of the Defenses — Efficiency of Putnam — 
Rapid Changes — New Distribution of the Forces — Rigid Disci- 
pline — Lee and his Cane — His Idea as to Strong Battalions — 
Arrival of Rifle Companies — Daniel Morgan and his Sharp- 
shooters — Washington declines to detach Troops to distant 
Points for their Protection — His Reasons for so doing 

The justice and impartiality of Washington were called 
into exercise as soon as he entered upon his command, in 
allaying discontents among his general officers, caused by 
the recent appointments and promotions made by the Con- 
tinental Congress. General Spencer was so offended that 
Putnam should be promoted over his head that he left the 
army, without visiting the commander-in-chief; but was 
subsequently induced to return. General Thomas felt ag- 
grieved by being outranked by the veteran Pomeroy; the 
latter, however, declining to serve, he found himself senior 
brigadier, and was appeased. 

Cife of U/asl?ir/$ton 477 

The sterling merits of Putnam soon made every one ac- 
quiesce in his promotion. There was a generosity and buoy- 
ancy about the brave old man that made him a favorite 
throughout the army; especially with the younger officers, 
who spoke of him familiarly and fondly as " Old Put"; a 
sobriquet by which he is called even in one of the private 
letters of the commander-in-chief. 

The Congress of Massachusetts manifested considerable 
liberality with respect to headquarters. According to their 
minutes, a committee was charged to procure a steward, a 
housekeeper, and two or three women cooks; Washington, 
no doubt, having brought with him none but the black ser- 
vants who had accompanied him to Philadelphia, and who 
were but little fitted for New England housekeeping. His 
wishes were to be consulted in regard to the supply of his 
table. This his station, as commander-in-chief, required 
should be kept up in ample and hospitable style. Every day 
a number of his officers dined with him. As he was in the 
neighborhood of the seat of the Provincial Government, he 
would occasionally have members of Congress and other 
functionaries at his board. Though social, however, he was 
not convivial in his habits. He received his guests with 
courtesy ; but his mind and time were too much occupied by 
grave and anxious concerns to permit him the genial indul- 
gence of the table. His own diet was extremely simple. 
Sometimes nothing but baked apples or berries, with cream 
and milk. He would retire early from the board, leaving an 
aid-de-camp or one of his officers to take his place. Colonel 
Mifflin was the first person who officiated as aid-de-camp. 
He was a Philadelphia gentleman of high respectability, who 
had accompanied him from that city, and received his ap- 
pointment shortly after their arrival at Cambridge. The 

478 U/orks of U/asl?ir>^top Irving 

second aid-de-camp was John Trumbull,* son of the Gov- 
ernor of Connecticut. He had accompanied General Spencer 
to the camp, and had caught the favorable notice of Wash- 
ington by some drawings which he had made of the enemy's 
works. "I now suddenly found myself," writes Trumbull, 
"in the family of one of the most distinguished and dignified 
men of the age; surrounded at his table by the principal 
officers of the army, and in constant intercourse with them — 
it was further my duty to receive company, and do the 
honors of the house to many of the first people of the country 
of both sexes." Trumbull was young, and unaccustomed 
to society, and soon found himself, he says, unequal to the 
elegant duties of his situation ; he gladly exchanged it, there- 
fore, for that of major of brigade. 

The member of Washington's family most deserving of 
mention at present, was his secretary, Mr. Joseph Reed. 
With this gentleman he had formed an intimacy in the 
course of his visits to Philadelphia, to attend the sessions of 
the Continental Congress. Mr. Reed was an accomplished 
man, had studied law in America, and at the Temple in 
London, and had gained a high reputation at the Philadel- 
phia bar. In the dawning of the Revolution he had em- 
braced the popular cause, and carried on a correspondence 
with the Earl of Dartmouth, endeavoring to enlighten that 
minister on the subject of colonial affairs. He had since 
been highly instrumental in rousing the Philadelphians to 
co-operate with the patriots of Bsoton. A sympathy of 
views and feelings had attached him to Washington, and 
induced him to accompany him to the camp. He had no 
definite purpose when he left home, and his friends in Phila- 

* In after years distinguished as a historical painter. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 479 

delphia were surprised, on receiving a letter from him writ- 
ten from Cambridge, to find that he had accepted the post 
of secretary to the commander-in-chief. 

They expostulated with him by letter. That a man in 
the thirty -fifth year of his age, with a lucrative profession, 
a young wife and growing family, and a happy home, should 
suddenly abandon all to join the hazardous fortunes of a 
revolutionary camp, appeared to them the height of infatua- 
tion. They remonstrated on the peril of the step. "I have 
no inclination," replied Reed, "to be hanged for half treason. 
When a subject draws his sword against his prince he must 
cut his way through, if he means to sit down in safety. I 
have taken too active a part in what may be called the civil 
part of opposition, to renounce, without disgrace, the public 
cause when it seems to lead to danger; and have a most 
sovereign contempt for the man who can plan measures he 
has not the spirit to execute." 

Washington has occasionally been represented as cold and 
reserved; yet his intercourse with Mr. Reed is a proof to the 
contrary. His friendship toward him was frank and cordial, 
and the confidence he reposed in him full and implicit. 
Reed, in fact, became, in a little time, the intimate com- 
panion of his thoughts, his bosom counselor. He felt the 
need of such a friend in the present exigency, placed as he 
was in a new and untried situation, and having to act with 
persons hitherto unknown to him. 

In military matters, it is true, he had a shrewd counselor 
in General Lee; but Lee was a wayward character; a cos- 
mopolite, without attachment to country, somewhat splenetic, 
and prone to follow the bent of his whims and humors, which 
often clashed with propriety and sound policy. Reed, on 
the contrary, though less informed on military matters, had 

480 U/or^s of U/as!?lD$toi) Irvii)f 

a strong common sense, unclouded by passion or prejudice, 
and a pure patriotism, which regarded everything as it bore 
upon the welfare of his country. 

"Washington's confidence in Lee had always to be meas- 
ured and guarded in matters of civil policy. 

The arrival of Gates in camp was heartily welcomed by 
the commander-in-chief, who had received a letter from that 
officer, gratefully acknowledging his friendly influence in 
procuring him the appointment of adjutant-general. Wash- 
ington may have promised himself much cordial co-operation 
from him, recollecting the warm friendship professed by him 
when he visited at Mount Vernon, and they talked together 
over their early companionship in arms; but of that kind 
of friendship there was no further manifestation. Gates 
was certainly of great service, from his practical knowledge 
and military experience at this juncture, when the whole 
army had in a manner to be organized ; but from the familiar 
intimacy of Washington he gradually estranged himself. A 
contemporary has accounted for this, by alleging that he 
was secretly chagrined at not having received the appoint- 
ment of major-general, to which he considered himself well 
fitted by his military knowledge and experience, and which 
he thought Washington might have obtained for him had 
he used his influence with Congress. We shall have to 
advert to this estrangement of Gates on subsequent occasions. 

The hazardous position of the army, from the great ex- 
tent and weakness of its lines, was what most pressed on the 
immediate attention of Washington; and he summoned a 
council of war, to take the matter into consideration. In 
this it was urged that, to abandon the line of works, after 
the great labor and expense of their construction, would be 
dispiriting to the troops and encouraging to the enemy, while 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) 481 

it would expose a wide extent of the surrounding country to 
maraud and ravage. Besides, no safer position presented it- 
self on which to fall back. This being generally admitted, 
it was determined to hold on to the works, and defend them 
as long as possible ; and, in the meantime, to augment the 
army to at least twenty thousand men. 

Washington now hastened to improve the defenses of the 
camp, strengthen the weak parts of the line, and throw up 
additional works round the main forts. No one seconded 
him more effectually in this matter than General Putnam. 
No works were thrown up with equal rapidity to those under 
his superintendence. "You seem, general," said Washing- 
ton, "to have the faculty of infusing your own spirit into all 
the workmen you employ"— and it was the fact. 

The observing chaplain, already cited, gazed with wonder 
at the rapid effects soon produced by the labors of an army. 
"It is surprising," writes he, "how much work has been 
done. The lines are extended almost from Cambridge to 
Mystic River; very soon it will be morally impossible for 
the enemy to get between the works, except in one place, 
which is supposed to be left purposely unfortified, to entice 
the enemy out of their fortresses. Who would have thought, 
twelve months past, that all Cambridge and Charlestown 
would be covered over with American camps, and cut up 
into forts and entrenchments, and all the lands, fields, or- 
chards, laid common — horses and cattle feeding on the 
choicest mowing land, whole fields of corn eaten down to 
the ground, and large parks of well-regulated forest trees 
cut down for firewood and other public uses." 

Besides the main dispositions above mentioned, about 

seven hundred men were distributed in the small towns and 

villages along the coast, to prevent depredations by water; 

-» * * U— Vol. XII. 

482 U/orKs of U/aebir^toi) Irulp<? 

and horses were kept ready saddled at various points of the 
widely extended lines, to convey to headquarters intelligence 
of any special movement of the enemy. 

The army was distributed by Washington into three 
grand divisions. One, forming the right wing, was sta- 
tioned on the heights of Roxbury. It was commanded by 
Major-general "Ward, who had under him Brigadier-generals 
Spencer and Thomas. Another, forming the left wing, un- 
der Major-general Lee, having with him Brigadier-generals 
Sullivan and Greene, was stationed on Winter and Prospect 
Hills; while the center, under Major-general Putnam and 
Brigadier - general Heath, was stationed at Cambridge. 
With Putnam was encamped his favorite officer Knowl- 
ton, who had been promoted by Congress to the rank of 
major for his gallantry at Bunker's Hill. 

At Washington's recommendation, Joseph Trumbull, the 
eldest son of the governor, received on the 24th of July the 
appointment of commissary-general of the Continental army. 
He had already officiated with talent in that capacity in the 
Connecticut militia. "There is a great overturning in the 
camp as to order and regularity,' ' writes the military chap- 
lain; "new lords, new laws. The Generals Washington and 
Lee are upon the lines every day. New orders from his Ex- 
cellency are read to the respective regiments every morning 
after prayers. The strictest government is taking place, and 
great distinction is made between officers and soldiers. 
Every one is made to know his place and keep it, or be 
tied up and receive thirty or forty lashes according to his 
crime. Thousands are at work every day from four till 
eleven o'clock in the morning." 

Lee was supposed to have been at the bottom of this rigid 
discipline; the result of his experience in European cam- 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$top 483 

paigning. His notions of military authority were acquired 
in the armies of the North. Quite a sensation was, on one 
occasion, produced in camp by his threatening to cane an 
officer for unsoldierly conduct. His laxity in other matters 
occasioned almost equal scandal. He scoffed, we are told, 
"with his usual prof aneness, " at a resolution of Congress ap- 
pointing a day of fasting and prayer, to obtain the favor of 
Heaven upon their cause. "Heaven," he observed, "was 
ever found favorable to strong battalions.' ' * 

Washington differed from him in this respect. By his 
orders the resolution of Congress was scrupulously enforced. 
All labor, excepting that absolutely necessary, was suspended 
on the appointed day, and officers and soldiers were required 
to attend divine service, armed and equipped, and ready for 
immediate action. 

Nothing excited more gaze and wonder among the rustio 
visitors to the camp than the arrival of several rifle com- 
panies, fourteen hundred men in all, from Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, and Virginia; such stalwart fellows as Washing- 
ton had known in his early campaigns. Stark hunters and 
bush-fighters; many of them upward of six feet high, and 
of vigorous frame; dressed in fringed frocks, or rifle shirts, 
and round hats. Their displays of sharpshooting were soon 
among the marvels of the camp. We are told that while ad- 
vancing at quick step they could hit a mark of seven inches 
diameter, at the distance of two hundred and fifty yards, f 

One of these companies was commanded by Captain 
Daniel Morgan, a native of New Jersey, whose first expe- 
rience in war had been to accompany Braddock's army as 
a wagoner. He had since carried arms on the frontier, and 

* Graydon's Memoirs, p. 138. 

f Thacher's Military Journal, p. 37. 

484 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir?^tor? Irvipo 

obtained a command. He and his riflemen in coming to the 
camp had marched six hundred miles in three weeks. They 
will be found of signal efficiency in the sharpest conflicts of 
the Revolutionary war. 

While all his forces were required for the investment of 
Boston, Washington was importuned by the Legislature of 
Massachusetts and the Governor of Connecticut to detach 
troops for the protection of different points of the seacoast, 
where depredations by armed vessels were apprehended. 
The case of New London was specified by Governor Trum- 
bull, where Captain Wallace of the "Rose" frigate, with 
two other ships of war, had entered the harbor, landed 
men, spiked the cannon, and gone off threatening future 

Washington referred to his instructions, and consulted 
with his general officers and* such members of the Continen- 
tal Congress as happened to be in camp, before he replied to 
these requests; he then respectfully declined compliance. 

In his reply to the General Assembly of Massachusetts, 
he stated frankly and explicitly the policy and system on 
which the war was to be conducted, and according to which 
he was to act as commander-in-chief. "It has been debated 
in Congress and settled," writes he, "that the militia, or 
other internal strength of each province, is to be applied for 
defense against those small and particular depredations, 
which were to be expected, and to which they were sup- 
posed to be competent. This will appear the more proper, 
when it is considered that every town, and indeed every part 
of our seacoast, which is exposed to these depredations, would 
have an equal claim upon this army. 

"It is the misfortune of our situation which exposes us 
to these ravages, and against which, in my judgment, no 

Cife of U/asl?ir)^top 485 

such temporary relief could possibly secure us. The great 
advantage the enemy have of transporting troops, by being 
masters of the sea, will enable them to harass us by diver- 
sions of this kind ; and should we be tempted to pursue them, 
upon every alarm, the army must either be so weakened as 
to expose it to destruction, or a great part of the coast be still 
left unprotected. Nor, indeed, does it appear to me that 
such a pursuit would be attended with the least effect. The 
first notice of such an excursion would be its actual execu- 
tion, and long before any troops could reach the scene of ac- 
tion the enemy would have an opportunity to accomplish 
their purpose and retire. It would give me great pleasure to 
have it in my power to extend protection and safety to every 
individual; but the wisdom of the General Court will antici- 
pate me on the necessity of conducting our operations on a 
general and impartial scale, so as to exclude any just cause 
of complaint and jealousy." 

His reply to the Governor of Connecticut was to the same 
effect. "I am by no means insensible to the situation of the 
people on the coast. I wish I could extend protection to all, 
but the numerous detachments necessary to remedy the evil 
would amount to a dissolution of the army, or make the most 
important operations of the campaign depend upon the pirati- 
cal expeditions of two or three men-of-war and transports.'* 

His refusal to grant the required detachments gave much 
dissatisfaction in some quarters, until sanctioned and en- 
forced by the Continental Congress. All at length saw and 
acquiesced in the justice and wisdom of his decision. It was 
in fact a vital question, involving the whole character and 
fortune of the war; and it was acknowledged that he met it 
with a forecast and determination befitting a commander-in- 

486 U/orKs of U/a8^ip^tor> Iruii>^ 


Washington's object in distressing Boston — Scarcity and Sickness in 
the Town — A Startling Discovery — Scarcity of Powder in the 
Camp — Its Perilous Situation — Economy of Ammunition — Cor- 
respondence between Lee and Burgoyne — Correspondence be- 
tween Washington and Gage — The Dignity of the Patriot Army 

The great object of Washington at present was to force 
the enemy to come out of Boston and try a decisive action. 
His lines had for some time cut off all communication of the 
town with the country, and he had caused the live stock 
within a considerable distance of the place to be driven back 
from the coast, out of reach of the men-of-war's boats. 
Fresh provisions and vegetables were consequently growing 
more and more scarce and extravagantly dear, and sickness 
began to prevail. "I have done and shall do everything in 
my power to distress them," writes he to his brother John 
Augustine. "The transports have all arrived, and their 
whole re-enforcement is landed, so that I see no reason why 
they should not, if they ever attempt it, come boldly out, 
and put the matter to issue at once." 

"We are in the strangest state in the world," writes a 
lady from Boston, "surrounded on all sides. The whole 
country is in arms and intrenched. We are deprived of 
fresh provisions, subject to continual alarms and cannonad- 
ings, the Provincials being very audacious, and advancing 
to our lines, since the arrival of Generals Washington and 
Lee to command them." 

At this critical juncture, when Washington was pressing 

Cife of U/a8bii)<$toi> 487 

the siege, and endeavoring to provoke a general action, a 
startling fact came to light; the whole amount of powder 
in the camp would not furnish more than nine cartridges to 
a man.* 

A gross error had been made by the committee of sup- 
plies when Washington, on taking command, had required 
a return of the ammunition. They had returned the whole 
amount of powder collected by the province, upward of three 
hundred barrels; without stating what had been expended. 
The blunder was detected on an order being issued for a new 
supply of cartridges. It was found that there were but 
thirty-two barrels of powder in store. 

This was an astounding discovery. Washington instantly 
dispatched letters and expresses to Rhode Island, the Jer- 
seys, Ticonderoga and elsewhere, urging immediate supplies 
of powder and lead ; no quantity, however small, to be con- 
sidered beneath notice. In a letter to Governor Cooke of 
Rhode Island, he suggested that an armed vessel of that 
province might be sent to seize upon a magazine of gunpow- 
der, said to be in a remote part of the island of Bermuda. 
"I am very sensible/ ' writes he, "that at first view the proj- 
ect may appear hazardous, and its success must depend on 
the concurrence of many circumstances; but we are in a 
situation which requires us to run all risks Enter- 
prises which appear chimerical often prove successful from 
that very circumstance. Common sense and prudence will 
suggest vigilance and care, where the danger is plain and 
obvious; but where little danger is apprehended, the more 
the enemy will be unprepared, and, consequently, there is 
the fairest prospect of success." 

* Letter to the President of Congress, Aug. 4. 

488 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii7^toi) In/ipo; 

Day after day elapsed without the arrival of any sup- 
plies ; for in these irregular times the munitions of war were 
not readily procured. It seemed hardly possible that the 
matter could be kept concealed from the enemy. Their 
works on Bunker's Hill commanded a full view of those of 
the Americans on Winter and Prospect Hills. Each camp 
could see what was passing in the other. The sentries were 
almost near enough to converse. There was furtive inter- 
course occasionally between the men. In this critical state, 
the American camp remained for a fortnight; the anxious 
commander incessantly apprehending an attack. At length a 
partial supply from the Jerseys put an end to this imminent 
risk. Washington's secretary, Reed, who had been the con- 
fidant of his troubles and anxieties, gives a vivid expression 
of his feelings on the arrival of this relief. "I can hardly 
look back, without shuddering, at our situation before this 
increase of our stock. Stock did I say? it was next to noth- 
ing. Almost the whole powder of the army was in the 
cartridge-boxes." * 

It is thought that, considering the clandestine intercourse 
carried on between the two camps, intelligence of this defi- 
ciency of ammunition on the part of the besiegers must have 
been conveyed to the British commander; but that the bold 
face with which the Americans continued to maintain their 
position made him discredit it. 

Notwithstanding the supply from the Jerseys, there was 
not more powder in camp than would serve the artillery for 
one day of general action. None, therefore, was allowed to 
be wasted ; the troops were even obliged to bear in silence 

* Reed to Thomas Bradford. Life and Correspondence, 
vol. i., p. 118. 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)<$toi) 489 

an occasional cannonading. "Our poverty in ammunition," 
writes Washington, "prevents our making a suitable return." 

One of the painful circumstances attending the outbreak 
of a revolutionary war is, that gallant men, who have held 
allegiance to the same government, and fought side by side 
under the same flag, suddenly find themselves in deadly con- 
flict with each other. Such was the case at present in the 
hostile camps. General Lee, it will be recollected, had once 
served under General Burgoyne, in Portugal, and had won 
his brightest laurels when detached by that commander to 
surprise the Spanish camp, near the Moorish castle of Villa 
Velha. A soldier's friendship had ever since existed be- 
tween them, and when Lee had heard at Philadelphia, 
before he had engaged in the American service, that his 
old comrade and commander was arrived at Boston, he 
wrote a letter to him, giving his own views on the points in 
dispute between the colonies and the mother country, and 
inveighing, with his usual vehemence and sarcastic point, 
against the conduct of the court and ministry. Before send- 
ing the letter, he submitted it to the Boston delegates and 
other members of Congress, and received their sanction. 

Since his arrival in camp he had received a reply from 
Burgoyne, couched in moderate and courteous language and 
proposing an interview at a designated house on Boston 
Neck, within the British sentries; mutual pledges to be 
given for each other's safety. 

Lee submitted this letter to the Provincial Congress of 
Massachusetts, and requested their commands with respect 
to the proposed interview. They expressed, in reply, the 
highest confidence in his wisdom, discretion, and integrity, 
but questioned whether the interview might not be regarded 
by the public with distrust; "a people contending for their 

490 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$tor) Iruii)$ 

liberties being naturally disposed to jealousy." They sug- 
gested, therefore, as a means of preventing popular miscon- 
ception, that Lee, on seeking the interview, should be ac- 
companied by Mr. Elbridge Gerry ; or that the advice of a 
council of war should be taken in a matter of such apparent 

Lee became aware of the surmises that might be awak- 
ened by the proposed interview, and wrote a friendly note to 
Burgoyne declining it. 

A correspondence of a more important character took 
place between "Washington and General Gage. It was one 
intended to put the hostile services on a proper footing. A 
strong disposition had been manifested among the British 
officers to regard those engaged in the patriot cause as male- 
factors, outlawed from the courtesies of chivalric warfare. 
Washington was determined to have a full understanding 
on this point. He was peculiarly sensitive with regard to 
Gage. They had been companions in arms in their early 
days ; but Gage might now affect to look down upon him as 
the chief of a rebel army. "Washington took an early oppor- 
tunity to let him know that he claimed to be the commander 
of a legitimate force, engaged in a legitimate cause, and that 
both himself and his army were to be treated on a footing of 
perfect equality. The correspondence arose from the treat- 
ment of several American officers 

"I understand," writes Washington to Gage, "that the 
officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country, 
who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, have 
been thrown indiscriminately into a common jail, appropri- 
ated to felons ; that no consideration has been had for those 
of the most respectable rank, when languishing with wounds 
and sickness, and that some have been amputated in this un- 

Cife of U/as^ip<$top 491 

worthy situation. Let your opinion, sir, of the principles 
which actuate them be what it may, they suppose that they 
act from the noblest of all principles, love of freedom and 
their country. But political principles, I conceive, are for- 
eign to this point. The obligations arising from the rights 
of humanity and claims of rank are universally binding and 
extensive, except in cases of retaliation. These, I should 
have hoped, would have dictated a more tender treatment 
of those individuals whom chance or war had put in your 
power. Nor can I forbear suggesting its fatal tendency to 
widen that unhappy breach which you, and those ministers 
under whom you act, have repeatedly declared your wish to 
see forever closed. My duty now makes it necessary to ap- 
prise you that, for the future, I shall regulate all my conduct 
toward those gentlemen who are, or may be, in our posses- 
sion, exactly by the rule you shall observe toward those of 
ours, now in your custody. 

"If severity and hardships mark the line of your conduct, 
painful as it may be to me, your prisoners will feel its effects. 
But if kindness and humanity are shown to us, I shall with 
pleasure consider those in our hands only as unfortunate, 
and they shall receive from me that treatment to which the 
unfortunate are ever entitled." 

The following are the essential parts of a letter from 
General Gage in reply : 

"Sir — To the glory of civilized nations, humanity and 
war have been compatible, and humanity to the subdued has 
become almost a general system. Britons, ever pre-eminent 
in mercy, have outgrown common examples, and overlooked 
the criminal in the captive. Upon these principles your 
prisoners, whose lives by the law of the land are destined 
to the cord, have hitherto been treated with care and kind- 

493 U/or^s of U/asl?ii)$tor) In/ino; 

ness, and more comfortably lodged than the king's troops in 
the hospitals, indiscriminately it is true, for I acknowledge 
no rank that is not derived from the king. 

"My intelligence from your army would justify severe 
recriminations. I understand there are many of the king's 
faithful subjects, taken some time since by the rebels, labor- 
ing, like negro slaves, to gain their daily subsistence, or re- 
duced to the wretched alternative to perish by famine or 
take arms against their king and country. Those who have 
made the treatment of the prisoners in my hands, or of your 
other friends in Boston, a pretense for such measures, found 
barbarity upon falsehood. 

"I would willingly hope, sir, that the sentiments of lib- 
erality which I have always believed you to possess will be 
exerted to correct these misdoings. Be temperate in political 
disquisition; give free operation to truth, and punish those 
who deceive and misrepresent; and not only the effects, but 
the cause, of this unhappy conflict will be removed. Should 
those, under whose usurped authority you act, control such 
a disposition, and dare to call severity retaliation; to God, 
who knows all hearts, be the appeal of the dreadful conse- 
quences," etc. 

There were expressions in the foregoing letter well cal- 
culated to rouse indignant feelings in the most temperate 
bosom. Had Washington been as readily moved to trans- 
ports of passion as some are pleased to represent him, the 
rebel and cord might readily have stung him to fury ; but 
with him, anger was checked in its impulses by higher ener- 
gies, and reined in to give grander effect to the dictates of 
his judgment. The following was his noble and dignified 
reply to General Gage : 

"I addressed you, sir, on the 11th instant, in terms which 

Cife of U/a8l?ip^toi) 493 

gave the fairest scope for that humanity and politeness which 
were supposed to form a part of your character. I remon- 
strated with you on the unworthy treatment shown to the 
officers and citizens of America, whom the fortune of war, 
chance, or a mistaken confidence, had thrown into your 
hands. Whether British or American mercy, fortitude, and 
patience, are most pre-eminent; whether our virtuous citi- 
zens, whom the hand of tyranny has forced into arms to 
defend their wives, their children, and their property, or the 
merciless instruments of lawless domination, avarice, and 
revenge, best deserve the appellation of rebels, and the pun- 
ishment of that cord which your affected clemency has for- 
borne to inflict ; whether the authority under which I act is 
usurped, or founded upon the genuine principles of liberty, 
were altogether foreign to the subject. I purposely avoided 
all political disquisition; nor shall I now avail myself of 
those advantages which the sacred cause of my country, of 
liberty, and of human nature, give me over you; much less 
shall I stoop to retort and invective; but the intelligence you 
say you have received from our army requires a reply. I 
have taken time, sir, to make a strict inquiry, and find that 
it has not the least foundation in truth. Not only your 
officers and soldiers have been treated with the tenderness 
due to fellow- citizens and brethren, but even those execrable 
parricides whose counsels and aid have deluged their coun- 
try with blood, have been protected from the fury of a justly 
enraged people. Far from compelling or permitting their 
assistance, I am embarrassed with the numbers who crowd 
to our camp, animated with the purest principles of virtue 

and love to their country 

"You affect, sir, to despise all rank not derived from the 
same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more 

494 U/or^s of U/as^io^tor) Irvioo; 

honorable than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice 
of a brave and free people, the purest source and original 
fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for 
cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity and enlarged ideas 
would comprehend and respect it. 

"What may have been the ministerial views which have 
precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, and 
Charlestown can best declare. May that God, to whom 
you, too, appeal, judge between America and you. Under 
His providence, those who influence the councils of America, 
and all the other inhabitants of the united colonies, at the 
hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to poster- 
ity those just and invaluable privileges which they received 
from their ancestors. 

"I shall now, sh% close my correspondence with you, per- 
haps forever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive a treat- 
ment from me different from that which I wish to show 
them, they and you will remember the occasion of it." 

We have given these letters of Washington almost entire, 
for they contain his manifesto as commander-in-chief of the 
armies of the Revolution ; setting forth the opinions and mo- 
tives by which he was governed, and the principles on which 
hostilities on his part would be conducted. It was planting 
with the pen that standard which was to be maintained by 
the sword. 

In conformity with the threat conveyed in the latter part 
of his letter, Washington issued orders that British officers 
at Watertown and Cape Ann, who were at large on parole, 
should be confined in Northampton jail ; explaining to them 
that this conduct, which might appear to them harsh and 
cruel, was contrary to his disposition, but according to the 
rule of treatment observed by General Gage toward the 

Cife of U/asI?ii)^toi7 495 

American prisoners in his hands ; making no distinction of 
rank. Circumstances, of which we have no explanation, in- 
duced subsequently a revocation of this order ; the officers 
were permitted to remain as before, at large upon parole, ex- 
periencing every indulgence and civility consistent with their 


Dangers in the Interior — Machinations of the Johnson Family — Ri- 
valry of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold — Government Per- 
plexities about the Ticonderoga Capture — Measures to secure 
the Prize — Allen and Arnold ambitious of further Laurels — 
Projects for the Invasion of Canada — Ethan Allen and Seth 
Warner honored by Congress — Arnold displaced by a Commit- 
tee of Inquiry — His Indignation — News from Canada — The 
Revolution to be extended into that Province — Enlistment of 
Green Mountain Boys — Schuyler at Ticonderoga — State of 
Affairs there — Election for officers of the Green Mountain Boys 
— Ethan Allen dismounted— Joins the Army as a Volunteer — 
Preparations for the Invasion of Canada — General Montgomery 
— Indian Chiefs at Cambridge — Council Fire — Plan for an Ex- 
pedition against Quebec — Departure of Troops from Ticonderoga 
— Arrival at Isle aux Noix 

We must interrupt our narrative of the siege of Boston 
to give an account of events in other quarters, requiring the 
superintending care of Washington, as commander-in-chief. 
Letters from General Schuyler, received in the course of 
July, had awakened apprehensions of danger from the inte- 
rior. The Johnsons were said to be stirring up the Indians 
in the western parts of New York to hostility, and preparing 
to join the British forces in Canada; so that, while the pa- 
ti ^ots were battling for their rights along the seaboard, they 
were menaced by a powerful combination in rear. To place 
this matter in a proper light, we will give a brief statement 
of occurrences in the upper part of New York, and on the 

496 U/orKs of U/a8^ip^tor> Iruii>$ 

frontiers of Canada, since the exploits of Ethan Allen and 
Benedict Arnold, at Ticonderoga and on Lake Cham plain. 

Great rivalry, as has already been noted, had arisen be- 
tween these doughty leaders. Both had sent off expresses to 
the provincial authorities, giving an acoount of their recent 
triumphs. Allen claimed command at Ticonderoga, on the 
authority of the committee from the Connecticut Assembly, 
which had originated the enterprise. Arnold claimed it on 
the strength of his instructions from the Massachusetts com- 
mittee of safety. He bore a commission, too, given him by 
that committee; whereas Allen had no other commission 
than that given him before the war by the committees in 
the Hampshire Grants, to command their Green Mountain 
Boys against the encroachments of New York. 

"Colonel Allen," said Arnold, "is a proper man to head 
his own wild people, but entirely unacquainted with military 
service, and as I am the only person who has been legally 
authorized to take possession of this place, I am determined 
to insist on my right ; . . . . and shall keep it [the fort] at 
every hazard, until I have further orders." * 

The public bodies themselves seemed perplexed what to 
do with the prize, so bravely seized upon by these bold men. 
Allen had written to the Albany committee, for men and 
provisions, to enable him to maintain his conquest. The 
committee feared this daring enterprise might involve the 
northern part of the province in the horrors of war and deso- 
lation, and asked advice of the New York committee. The 
New York committee did not think themselves authorized to 
give an opinion upon a matter of such importance, and re- 
ferred it to the Continental Congress. 

* Arnold to Mass. Com. of Safety. Am. Arch., ii. 557. 

Cife of U/a8l?ii7$toi) 49? 

The Massachusetts committee of safety, to whom Arnold 
had written, referred the affair to the Massachusetts Provin- 
cial Congress. That body, as the enterprise had begun in 
Connecticut, wrote to its General Assembly to take the 
whole matter under their care and direction, until the ad- 
vice of the Continental Congress could be had. 

The Continental Congress at length legitimated the ex- 
ploit, and, as it were, accepted the captured fortress. As it 
was situated within New York, the custody of it was com- 
mitted to that province, aided if necessary by the New Eng- 
land colonies, on which it was authorized to call for military 

The Provincial Congress of New York forthwith invited 
the "Governor and Company of the English colony of Con- 
necticut" to place part of their forces in these captured posts, 
until relieved by New York troops; and Trumbull, the Gov- 
ernor of Connecticut, soon gave notice that one thousand 
men, under Colonel Hinman, were on the point of march- 
ing, for the re-enforcement of Ticonderoga and Crown 

It had been the idea of the Continental Congress to have 
those posts dismantled, and the cannon and stores removed 
to the south end of Lake George, where a strong post was 
to be established. But both Allen and Arnold exclaimed 
against such a measure; vaunting, and with reason, the 
importance of those forts. 

Both Allen and Arnold were ambitious of further laurels. 
Both were anxious to lead an expedition into Canada; and 
Ticonderoga and Crown Point would open the way to it. 
"The Key is ours," writes Allen to the New York Congress. 
"If the colonies would suddenly push an army of two or 
three thousand men into Canada, they might make an easy 

498 U/orl^s of U/a8f?ir>$tor> Irurr>^ 

conquest of all that would oppose them, in the extensive 
province of Quebec, except a re- enforcement from England 
should prevent it. Such a diversion would weaken Gage, 
and insure us Canada. I wish to God America would, at 
this critical juncture, exert herself agreeably to the indignity 
offered her by a tyrannical ministry. She might rise on 
eagles' wings and mount up to glory, freedom, and immor- 
tal honor, if she did but know and exert her strength. Fame 
is now hovering over her head. A vast continent must now 
sink to slavery, poverty, horror, and bondage, or rise to un- 
conquerable freedom, immense wealth, inexpressible felicity, 
and immortal fame. 

"I will la} r my life on it that, with fifteen hundred men, 
and a proper train of artillery, I will take Montreal. Pro- 
vided I could be thus furnished, and if an army could com- 
mand the field, it would be no insuperable difficulty to 
take Quebec.' ' 

A letter to the same purport, and with the same rhetor- 
ical flourish, on which he appeared to value himself, was 
written by Allen to Trumbull, the Governor of Connecticut. 
Arnold urged the same project, but in less magniloquent lan- 
guage, upon the attention of the Continental Congress. His 
letter was dated from Crown Point ; where he had a little 
squadron, composed of the sloop captured at St. John's, a 
schooner and a flotilla of bateaux. All these he had equipped, 
armed, manned, and officered ; and his crews were devoted 
to him. In his letter to the Continental Congress he gave 
information concerning Canada, collected through spies and 
agents. Carleton, he said, had not six hundred effective 
men under him. The Canadians and Indians were disaf- 
fected to the British government, and Montreal was ready 
to throw open its gates to a patriot force. Two thousand 

Cife of U/a8bii)<$toi) 499 

men, he was certain, would be sufficient to get possession of 
the province. 

"I beg leave to add," says he, "that if no person appears 
who will undertake to carry the plan into execution, I will 
undertake, and, with the smiles of Heaven, answer for the 
success, provided I am supplied with men, etc., to carry it 
into execution without loss of time." 

In a postscript of his letter he specifies the forces requisite 
for his suggested invasion. "In order to give satisfaction to 
the different colonies, I propose that Colonel Hinman's regi- 
ment, now on their march from Connecticut to Ticonderoga, 
should form part of the army ; say one thousand men ; five 
hundred men to be sent from New York, five hundred of 
General Arnold's regiment, including the seamen and ma- 
rines on board the vessels (no Green Mountain Boys)." 

Within a few days after the date of this letter, Colonel 
Hinman with the Connecticut troops arrived. The greater 
part of the Green Mountain Boys now returned home, their 
term of enlistment having expired. Ethan Allen and his 
brother in arms, Seth Warner, repaired to Congress to get 
pay for their men, and authority to raise a new regiment. 
They were received with distinguished honor by that body. 
The same pay was awarded to the men who had served un- 
der them as that allowed to the Continental troops; and it 
was recommended to the New York Convention that, should 
it meet the approbation of General Schuyler, a fresh corps of 
Green Mountain Boys about to be raised should be employed 
in the army under such officers as they (the Green Mountain 
Boys) should choose. 

To the New York Convention Allen and Warner now re- 
paired. There was a difficulty about admitting them to the 
hall of Assembly, for their attainder of outlawry had not 

500 U/or^s of U/asl?in$tor; Iruir><$ 

been repealed. Patriotism, however, pleaded in their behalf. 
They obtained an audience. A regiment of Green Mountain 
Boys, five hundred strong, was decreed, and General Schuy ■ 
ler notified the people of the New Hampshire Grants of the 
resolve, and requested them to raise the regiment. 

Thus prosperously went the affairs of Ethan Allen and 
Seth Warner. As to Arnold, difficulties instantly took place 
between him and Colonel Hinman. Arnold refused to give 
up to him the command of either post, claiming on the 
strength of his instructions from the committee of safety of 
Massachusetts a right to the command of all the posts and 
fortresses at the south end of Lake Champlain and Lake 
George. This threw everything into confusion. Colonel 
Hinman was himself perplexed in this conflict of various 
authorities ; being, as it were, but a locum tenens for the 
province of New York. 

Arnold was at Crown Point, acting as commander of the 
fort and admiral of the fleet; and having about a hundred 
and fifty resolute men under him, was expecting with con- 
fidence to be authorized to lead an expedition into Canada. 

At this juncture arrived a committee of three members of 
the Congress of Massachusetts, sent by that body to inquire 
into the manner in which he had executed his instructions; 
complaints having been made of his arrogant and undue 
assumption of command. 

Arnold was thunderstruck at being subjected to inquiry 
when he had expected an ovation. He requested a sight of 
the committee's instructions. The sight of them only in- 
creased his indignation. They were to acquaint themselves 
with the manner in which he had executed his commission ; 
with his spirit, capacity, and conduct. Should they think 
proper, they might order him to return to Massachusetts, to 

Cife of U/a8l?ir)$toi) 501 

render account of the moneys, ammunition, and stores he had 
received, and the debts he had contracted on behalf of the 
colony. While at Ticonderoga, he and his men were to be 
under command of the principal officer from Connecticut. 

Arnold was furious. He swore he would be second in 
command to no one, disbanded his men and threw up his 
commission. Quite a scene ensued. His men became turbu- 
lent; some refused to serve under any other leader; others 
clamored for their pay, which was in arrears. Part joined 
Arnold on board of the vessels which were drawn out into 
the lake ; and, among other ebullitions of passion, there was 
a threat of sailing for St. John's. 

At length the storm was allayed by the interference of 
several of the officers, and the assurance of the committee 
that every man should be paid. A part of them enlisted 
under Colonel Easton, and Arnold set off for Cambridge to 
settle his accounts with the committee of safety. 

The project of an invasion of Canada, urged by Allen 
and Arnold, had at first met with no favor, the Continental 
Congress having formally resolved to make no hostile at- 
tempts upon that province. Intelligence subsequently re- 
ceived induced it to change its plans. Carleton was said 
to be strengthening the fortifications and garrison at St. 
John's, and preparing to launch vessels on the lake where- 
with to regain command of it and retake the captured posts. 
Powerful re-enforcements were coming from England and 
elsewhere. Guy Johnson was holding councils with the 
fierce Cayugas and Senecas, and stirring up the Six Nations 
to hostility. On the other hand, Canada was full of religious 
and political dissensions. The late exploits of the Americans 
on Lake Champlain had produced a favorable effect on the 
Canadians, who would flock to the patriot standard if un- 

502 U/orl^s of U/asl?io$top Irufop* 

furled among them by an imposing force. Now was the time 
to strike a blow to paralyze all hostility from this quarter; 
now, while Carleton's regular force was weak, and before 
the arrival of additional troops. Influenced by these con- 
siderations, Congress now determined to extend the Revolu- 
tion into Canada ; but it was an enterprise too important to be 
intrusted to any but discreet hands. General Schuyler, then 
in New York, was accordingly ordered, on the 27th of June, 
to proceed to Ticonderoga, and "should he find it practicable, 
and not disagreeable to the Canadians, immediately to take 
possession of St. John's and Montreal, and pursue such other 
measures in Canada as might have a tendency to promote 
the peace and security of these provinces." 

It behooved General Schuyler to be on the alert, lest the 
enterprise should be snatched from his hands. Ethan Allen 
and Seth Warner were at Bennington, among the Green 
Mountains. Enlistments were going on but too slow for 
Allen's impatience, who had his old hankering for a partisan 
foray. In a letter to Governor Trumbull (July 12th), he 
writes: "Were it not that the grand Continental Congress 
had totally incorporated the Green Mountain Boys into a 
battalion under certain regulations and command, I would 
forthwith advance them into Canada, and invest Montreal, 
exclusive of any help from the colonies; though under 
present circumstances I would not, for my right arm, act 
without or contrary to order. If my fond zeal for reduc- 
ing the king's fortresses and destroying or imprisoning 
his troops in Canada be the result of enthusiasm, I hope 
and expect the wisdom of the continent will treat it as such ; 
and on the other hand, if it proceed from sound policy, that 
the plan will be adopted." * 

* Force's Am. Archives, ii. 1649. 

Cife of \lfas\)ir)Qtor) 503 

Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga on the 18th of July. A 
letter to Washington, to whom, as commander-in-chief, he 
made constant reports, gives a striking picture of a frontier 
post in those crude days of the Revolution. 

"You will expect that I should say something about this 
place and the troops here. Not one earthly thing for offense 
or defense has been done; the commanding officer has no 
orders; he only came to re- enforce the garrison, and he 
expected the general. About ten last night I arrived at 
the landing-place, at the north end of Lake George; a post 
occupied by a captain and one hundred men. A sentinel, 
on being informed that I was in the boat, quitted his post 
to go and awaken the guard, consisting of three men, in 
which he had no success. I walked up and came to another, 
a sergeant's guard. Here the sentinel challenged, but 
suffered me to come up to him; the whole guard, like the 
first, in the soundest sleep. "With a penknife only I could 
have cut off both guards, and then have set fire to the block 
house, destroyed the stores, and starved the people here. 
At this post I had pointedly recommended vigilance and 
care, as all the stores from Lake George must necessarily 
be landed here. But I hope to get the better of this inatten- 
tion. The officers and men are all good-looking people, and 
decent in their deportment, and I really believe will make 
good soldiers as soon as I can get the better of this non- 
chalance of theirs. Bravery, I believe, they are far from 
wanting. ' ' 

Colonel Hinman, it will be recollected, was in temporary 
command at Ticonderoga, if that could be called a command 
where none seemed to obey. The garrison was about twelve 
hundred strong : the greater part Connecticut men, brought 
by himself; some were New York troops, and some few 

504 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$tOQ Iruipo; 

Green Mountain Boys. Schuyler, on taking command, 
dispatched a confidential agent into Canada, Major John 
Brown, an American, who resided on the Sorel River, and 
was popular among the Canadians. He was to collect in- 
formation as to the British forces and fortifications, and to 
ascertain how an invasion and an attack on St. John's would 
be considered by the people of the province : in the meantime 
Schuyler set diligently to work to build boats, and prepare 
for the enterprise should it ultimately be ordered by Congress. 
Schuyler was an authoritative man, and inherited from 
his Dutch ancestry a great love of order; he was excessively 
annoyed, therefore, by the confusion and negligence preva- 
lent around him, and the difficulties and delays thereby 
occasioned. He chafed in spirit at the disregard of dis- 
cipline among his yeoman soldiery, and their opposition 
to all system and regularity. This was especially the case 
with the troops from Connecticut, officered generally by 
their own neighbors and familiar companions, and unwilling 
to acknowledge the authority of a commander from a differ- 
ent province. He poured out his complaints in a friendly 
letter to Washington ; the latter consoled him by stating his 
own troubles and grievances in the camp at Cambridge, and 
the spirit with which he coped with them. "From my own 
experience," writes he (July 28), "I can easily judge of 
your difficulties in introducing order and discipline into 
troops, who have, from their infancy, imbibed ideas of the 
most contrary kind. It would be far beyond the compass 
of a letter for me to describe the situation of things here 
[at Cambridge], on my arrival. Perhaps you will only be 
able to judge of it from my assuring you that mine must 
be a portrait at full length of what you have had in minia- 
ture. Confusion and discord reigned in every department, 

Cife of U/asl?ii)$toi) 505 

which, in a little time, must have ended either in the separa- 
tion of the army or fatal contests with one another. The 
better genius of America has prevailed, and, most happily, 
the ministerial troops have not availed themselves of these 
advantages, till, I trust, the opportunity is, in a groat meas- 
ure, passed over We mend every day, and I flatter 

myself that in a little time we shall work up these raw 
materials into a good manufacture. I must recommend to 
you, what I endeavor to practice myself, patience and per- 

Schuyler took the friendly admonition in the spirit in 
which it was given. "I can easily conceive," writes he 
(August 6th), "that my difficulties are only a faint semblance 
of yours. Yes, my general, I will strive to copy your bright 
example, and patiently and steadily persevere in that line 
which only can promise the wished-for reformation." 

He had calculated on being joined, by this time, by the 
regiment of Green Mountain Boys which Ethan Allen and 
Seth Warner had undertaken to raise in the New Hampshire 
Grants. Unfortunately, a quarrel had arisen between those 
brothers in arms, which rilled the Green Mountains with dis- 
cord and party feuds. The election of officers took place on 
the 27th of July. It was made by committees from the 
different townships. Ethan Allen was entirely passed by, 
and Seth Warner nominated as lieutenant-colonel of the 
regiment. Allen was thunderstruck at rinding himself thus 
suddenly dismounted. His patriotism and love of adventure, 
however, were not quelled : and he forthwith repaired to the 
army at Ticonderoga, to offer himself as a volunteer. 

Schuyler, at first, hesitated to accept his services. He 

was aware of his aspiring notions, and feared there would 

be a difficulty in keeping him within due bounds, but was 

* * * V— Vol. XII. 

506 U/or^s of U/asl?ir>^tor> Irv/ir)$ 

at length persuaded by his officers to retain him, to act as 
a pioneer on the Canadian frontier. 

In a letter from camp, Allen gave Governor Trumbull an 
account of the downfall of his towering hopes. " Notwith- 
standing my zeal and success in my country's cause, the old 
farmers on the New Hampshire Grants, who do not incline 
to go to war, have met in a committee meeting, and in their 
nomination of officers for the regiment of Green Mountain 
Boys have wholly omitted me." 

His letter has a conciliatory postscript. "I find myself 
in the favor of the officers of the army and the young Green 
Mountain Boys. How the old men came to reject me I 
cannot conceive, inasmuch as I saved them from the en- 
croachments of New York." * The old men probably 
doubted bis discretion. 

Schuyler was on the alert with respect to the expedition 
against Canada. From his agent, Major Brown, and from 
other sources, he had learned that there were but about seven 
hundred king's troops in the province; three hundred of 
them at St. John's, about fifty at Quebec, the remainder at 
Montreal, Chamblee, and the upper posts. Colonel Guy 
Johnson was at Montreal with three hundred men, mostly 
his tenants, and with a number of Indians. Two batteries 
had been finished at St. John's, mounting nine guns each : 
other works were intrenched and picketed. Two large row 
galleys were on the stocks, and would soon be finished. 
Now was the time, according to his informants, to carry 
Canada. It might be done with great ease and little cost. 
The Canadians were disaffected to British rule, and would 
join the Americans, and so would many of the Indians. 

* Am. Archives, 4th series, iii. 17. 

Cife of Ufa&tyT)Qtoj) 507 

"I am prepared, " writes he to Washington, u to move 
against the enemy, unless your Excellency and Congress 
should direct otherwise. In the course of a few days, I 
expect to receive the ultimate determination. Whatever it 
may be, I shall try to execute it in such a manner as will 
promote the just cause in which we are engaged.' ■ 

While awaiting orders on this head, he repaired to Al- 
bany, to hold a conference and negotiate a treaty with the 
Caughnawagas, and the warriors of the Six Nations, whom, 
as one of the commissioners of Indian affairs, he had invited 
to meet him at that place. General Richard Montgomery 
was to remain in command at Ticonderoga, during his 
absence, and to urge forward the military preparations. As 
the subsequent fortunes of this gallant officer are inseparably 
connected with the Canadian campaign, and have endeared 
his name to Americans, we pause to give a few particulars 
concerning him. 

General Richard Montgomery was of a good family in 
the north of Ireland, where he was born in 1736. He entered 
the army when about eighteen years of age; served in 
America in the French war; won a lieutenancy by gallant 
conduct at Louisburg; followed General Amherst to Lake 
Cham plain, and, after the conquest of Canada, was promoted 
to a captaincy for his services in the West Indies. 

After the peace of Versailles he resided in England ; but, 
about three years before the breaking out of the Revolution, 
he sold out his commission in the army and emigrated to New 
York. Here he married the eldest daughter of Judge Robert 
R. Livingston, of the Claremont branch of that family ; and 
took up his residence on an estate which he had purchased 
in Duchess County, on the banks of the Hudson. 

Being known to be in favor of the popular cause, he was 

508 U/orKs of U/ast?ir?$tor; Irvir>$ 

drawn reluctantly from his rural abode, to represent his 
county in the first convention of the province; and on the 
recent organization of the army his military reputation 
gained him the unsought commission of brigadier-general. 
"It is an event," writes he to a friend, "which must put an 
end for a while, perhaps forever, to the quiet scheme of life 
I had prescribed for myself ; for, though entirely unexpected 
and undesired by me, the will of an oppressed people, com- 
pelled to choose between liberty and slavery, must be 

At the time of receiving his commission, Montgomery 
was about thirty-nine years of age, and the beau ideal of 
a soldier. His form was well-proportioned and vigorous; 
his countenance expressive and prepossessing; he was cool 
and discriminating in council, energetic and fearless in action. 
His principles commanded the respect of friends and foes, and 
he was noted for winning the affections of the soldiery. 

' While these things were occurring at Ticonderoga, sev- 
eral Indian chiefs made their appearance in the camp at 
Cambridge. They came in savage state and costume, as 
embassadors from their respective tribes, to have a talk 
about the impending invasion of Canada. One was chief of 
the Caughnawaga tribe, whose residence was on the banks 
of the St. Lawrence, six miles above Montreal. Others were 
from St. Francis, about forty-five leagues above Quebec, and 
were of a warlike tribe, from which hostilities had been 
©specially apprehended. 

Washington, accustomed to deal with the red warriors 
of the wilderness, received them with great ceremonial. 
They dined at headquarters among his officers, and it is 
observed that to some of the latter they might have served 
as models; such was their grave dignity and decorum. 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi) 009 

A council -fire was held. The sachems all offered, on 
behalf of their tribes, to take up the hatchet for the Amer- 
icans, should the latter invade Canada. The offer was em- 
barrassing. Congress had publicly resolved to seek nothing 
but neutrality from the Indian nations, unless the ministerial 
agents should make an offensive alliance with them. The 
chief of the St. Francis tribe declared that Governor Carleton 
had endeavored to persuade him to take up the hatchet 
against the Americans, but in vain. "As our ancestors 
gave this country to you," added he, grandly, "we would 
not have you destroyed by England ; but are ready to afford 
you our assistance." 

"Washington wished to be certain of the conduct of the 
enemy, before he gave a reply to these Indian overtures. 
He wrote by express, therefore, to General Schuyler, request- 
ing him to ascertain the intentions of the British governor 
with respect to the native tribes. 

By the same express, he communicated a plan which had 
occupied his thoughts for several days. As the contemplated 
movement of Schuyler would probably cause all the British 
force in Canada to be concentrated in the neighborhood of 
Montreal and St. John's, he proposed to send off an expedition 
of ten or twelve hundred men, to penetrate to Quebec by the 
way of the Kennebec River. "If you are resolved to pro- 
ceed," writes he to Schuyler, "which I gather from your last 
letter is your intention, it would make a diversion that would 
distract Carleton. He must either break up, and follow this 
party to Quebec, by which he would leave you a free pas- 
sage, or he must suffer that important place to fall into other 
hands; an event that would have a decisive effect and influ- 
ence on the public interest. . . . The few whom I have 
consulted on the project approve it much, but the final 

510 U/or^s of ll/as^ir^tor) Irvir><$ 

determination is deferred until I hear from you. Not a 
moment's time is to be lost in the preparations for this en- 
terprise, if the advices from you favor it. With the utmost 
expedition the season will be considerably advanced, so that 
you will dismiss the express as soon as possible.' ' 

The express found Schuyler in Albany, where he had 
been attending the conference with the Six Nations. He had 
just received intelligence which convinced him of the pro- 
priety of an expedition into Canada ; had sent word to Gen- 
eral Montgomery to get everything ready for it, and was on 
the point of departing for Ticonderoga to carry it into effect. 
In reply to Washington, he declared his conviction, from 
various accounts which he had received, that Carleton and 
his agents were exciting the Indian tribes to hostility. "I 
should, therefore, not hesitate one moment," adds he, "to 
employ any savages that might be willing to join us." 

He expressed himself delighted with Washington's proj- 
ect of sending off an expedition to Quebec, regretting only 
that it had not been thought of earlier. * ' Should the detach- 
ment from your body penetrate into Canada," added he, 
"and we meet with success, Canada must inevitably fall into 
our hands. ' ' 

Having sent off these dispatches, Schuyler hastened back 
to Ticonderoga. Before he reached there, Montgomery had 
received intelligence that Carleton had completed his armed 
vessels at St. John's, and was about to send them into Lake 
Champlain by the Sorel River. No time, therefore, was to 
be lost in getting possession of the Isle aux Noix, which com- 
manded the entrance to that river. Montgomery hastened, 
therefore, to embark with about a thousand men, which were 
as many as the boats now ready could hold, taking with him 
two pieces of artillery ; with this force he set off down the 

Cife of U/asbip^eoi) 511 

lake. A letter to General Schuyler explained the cause of 
his sudden departure, and entreated him to follow on in a 
whale-boat, leaving the residue of the artillery to come on as 
soon as conveyances could be procured. 

Schuyler arrived at Ticonderoga on the night of the 30th 
of August, but too ill of a bilious fever to push on in a whale- 
boat. He caused, however, a bed to be prepared for him in 
a covered bateau, and, ill as he was, continued forward on 
the following day. On the 4th of September he overtook 
Montgomery at the Isle la Motte, where he had been detained 
by contrary weather, and, assuming command of the little 
army, kept on the same day to the Isle aux Noix, about 
twelve miles south of St. John's — where for the present we 
shall leave him, and return to the headquarters of the com- 


A Challenge declined — A Blow meditated — A cautious Council of 
War — Preparations for the Quebec Expedition — Benedict Ar- 
nold the Leader — Advice and Instructions — Departure — General 
Schuyler on the Sorel — Reconnoiters St. John's — Camp at Isle 
aux Noix — Illness of Schuyler — Returns to Ticonderoga — Expe- 
dition of Montgomery against St. John's — Letter of Ethan Allen 
— His Dash against Montreal — Its Catastrophe — A Hero in Irons 
— Correspondence of Washington with Schuyler and Arnold — 
His Anxiety about them 

The siege of Boston had been kept up for several weeks 
without any remarkable occurrence. The British remained 
within their lines, diligently strengthening them ; the besieg- 
ers, having received further supplies of ammunition, were 
growing impatient of a state of inactivity. Toward the 
latter part of August, there were rumors from Boston that 

512 UJor^s of U/asI?ii)$toi) Iruii)©; 

the enemy were preparing for a sortie. Washington was 
resolved to provoke it by a kind of challenge, He accord- 
ingly detached fourteen hundred men to seize at night upon 
a height within musket-shot of the enemy's line on Charles- 
town Neck, presuming that the latter would sally forth on 
the following day to dispute possession of it, and thus be 
drawn into a general battle. The task was executed with 
silence and celerity, and by daybreak the hill presented to 
the astonished foe the aspect of a fortified post. 

The challenge was not accepted. The British opened a 
heavy cannonade from Bunker's Hill, but kept within their 
works. The Americans, scant of ammunition, could only 
reply with a single nine-pounder; this, however, sank one 
of the floating batteries which guarded the Neck. They 
went on to complete and strengthen this advanced post, 
exposed to daily cannonade and bombardment, which, how- 
ever, did but little injury. They continued to answer from 
time to time with a single gun ; reserving their ammunition 
for a general action. "We are just in the situation of a 
man with little money in his pocket," writes Secretary Reed; 
"he will do twenty mean things to prevent his breaking in 
upon his little stock. We are obliged to bear with the rascals 
on Bunker's Hill, when a few shot now and then in return 
would keep our men attentive to their best business and give 
the enemy alarms. ' ' * 

The evident unwillingness of the latter to come forth was 
perplexing. "Unless the ministerial troops in Boston are 
waiting for re-enforcements," writes Washington, "I cannot 
devise what they are staying there for, nor why, as they 
affect to despise the Americans, they do not come forth and 
put an end to the contest at once." 

* Life of Reed, vol. i., p. 119. 

Cife of U/a8t?ir)<$toi> 513 

Perhaps they persuaded themselves that his army, com- 
posed of crude, half -disciplined levies from different and dis- 
tant quarters, would gradually fall asunder and disperse, or 
that its means of subsistence would be exhausted. He had 
his own fears on the subject, and looked forward with doubt 
and anxiety to a winter's campaign ; the heavy expense that 
would be incurred in providing barracks, fuel, and warm 
clothing; the difficulty there would be of keeping together, 
through the rigorous season, troops unaccustomed to military 
hardships, and none of whose terms of enlistment extended 
beyond the 1st of January: the supplies of ammunition, too, 
that would be required for protracted operations ; the stock 
of powder on hand, notwithstanding the most careful hus- 
bandry, being fearfully small. Revolving these circum- 
stances in his mind, he rode thoughtfully about the com- 
manding points in the vicinity of Boston, considering how 
he might strike a decisive blow that would put an end to 
the murmuring inactivity of the army, and relieve the 
country from the consuming expense of maintaining it. The 
result was a letter to the major and brigadier-generals, sum- 
moning them to a council of war to be held at the distance 
of three days, and giving them previous intimation of its 
purpose. It was to know whether, in their judgment, a suc- 
cessful attack might not be made upon the troops at Boston 
by means of boats in co-operation with an attempt upon their 
lines at Roxbury. "The success of such an enterprise,' ' 
adds he, "depends, I well know, upon the All wise Disposer 
of events, and it is not within the reach of human wisdom 
to foretell the issue ; but if the prospect is fair, the undertak- 
ing is justifiable." 

He proceeded to state the considerations already cited, 
which appeared to justify it. The council, having thus had 

614 U/orl^s of U/asl?i9$toi) Irving 

time for previous deliberation, met on the 11th of September. 
It was composed of Major-generals Ward, Lee, and Putnam, 
and Brigadier-generals Thomas, Heath, Sullivan, Spencer, 
and Greene. They unanimously pronounced the suggested 
attempt inexpedient, at least for the present. 

It certainly was bold and hazardous, yet it seems to have 
taken a strong hold on the mind of the commander-in-chief, 
usually so cautious. "I cannot say," writes he to the Presi- 
dent of Congress, "that I have wholly laid it aside; but new 
events may occasion new measures. Of this I hope the 
honorable Congress can need no assurance, that there is not 
a man in America who more earnestly wishes such a termi- 
nation of the campaign as to make the army no longer 

In the meantime, as it was evident the enemy did not 
intend to come out, but were only strengthening their de- 
fenses, and preparing for winter, Washington was enabled 
to turn his attention to the expedition to be sent into Canada 
by the way of the Kennebec River. 

A detachment of about eleven hundred men, chosen for 
the purpose, were soon encamped on Cambridge Common. 
There were ten companies of New England infantry, some 
of them from General Greene's Rhode Island regiments; 
three rifle companies from Pennsylvania and Virginia, one 
of them Captain Daniel Morgan's famous company; and 
a number of volunteers; among whom was Aaron Burr, 
then but twenty years of age, and just commencing his 
varied, brilliant, but ultimately unfortunate career. 

The proposed expedition was wild and perilous, and re- 
quired a hardy, skillful, and intrepid leader. Such a one 
was at hand. Benedict Arnold was at Cambridge, occupied 
in settling his accounts with the Massachusetts committee 

Cife of \JJas\)ir)QtoT) 515 

of safety. These were nearly adjusted. "Whatever faults 
may have been found with his conduct in some particulars, 
his exploits on Lake Cham plain had atoned for them; for 
valor in time of war covers a multitude of sins. It was 
thought, too, by some, that he had been treated harshly, and 
there was a disposition to soothe his irritated pride. "Wash- 
ington had given him an honorable reception at headquarters, 
and now considered him the very man for the present enter- 
prise. He had shown aptness for military service, whether 
on land or water. He was acquainted, too, with Canada, 
and especially with Quebec, having, in the course of his 
checkered life, traded in horses between that place and the 
"West Indies. "With these considerations he intrusted him 
with the command of the expedition, giving him the com- 
mission of lieutenant-colonel in the Continental army. 

As he would be intrusted with dangerous powers, Wash- 
ington, besides a general letter of instructions, addressed a 
special one to him individually, full of cautious and consid- 
erate advice. "Upon your conduct and courage, and that 
of the officers and soldiers detailed on this expedition, not 
only the success of the present enterprise, and your own 
honor, but the safety and welfare of the whole continent 
may depend. I charge you, therefore, and the officers and 
soldiers under your command, as you value your own safety 
and honor, and the favor and esteem of your country, that 
you consider yourselves as marching, not through the coun- 
try of an enemy, but of our friends and brethren ; for such 
the inhabitants of Canada and the Indian nations have ap- 
proved themselves in this unhappy contest between Great 
Britain and America; and that you check, by every motive 
of duty and fear of punishment, every attempt to plunder 
or insult the inhabitants of Canada. Should an American 

516 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$toj) Irvir;©; 

soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any Canadian 
or Indian in his person or property, I do most earnestly en- 
join you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punish- 
ment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it 
extend to death itself, it will not be disproportioned to the 
guilt at such a time and in such a cause. ... I also give 
in charge to you, to avoid all disrespect to the religion of the 
country and its ceremonies. . . . While we are contending 
for our own liberty, we should be very cautious not to violate 
the rights of conscience in others, ever considering that God 
alone is the judge of the hearts of men, and to Him only, in 
this case, are they answerable." 

In the general letter of instructions, "Washington inserted 
the following clause: "If Lord Chatham's son should be in 
Canada, and in any way fall into your power, you are en- 
joined to treat him with all possible deference and respect. 
You cannot err in paying too much honor to the son of so 
illustrious a character and so true a friend to America.' * 

Arnold was, moreover, furnished with handbills for dis- 
tribution in Canada, setting forth the friendly objects of the 
present expedition, as well as of that under General Schuy- 
ler; and calling on the Canadians to furnish necessaries 
and accommodations of every kind; for which they were 
assured ample compensation. 

On the 13th of September, Arnold struck his tents and set 
out in high spirits. More fortunate than his rival, Ethan 
Allen, he had obtained the object of his ambition, the com- 
mand of an expedition into Canada ; and trusted in the cap- 
ture of Quebec to eclipse even the surprise of Ticonderoga. 

Washington enjoined upon him to push forward as rapidly 
as possible, success depending upon celerity; and counted 
the days as they elapsed after his departure, impatient to 

Cife of U/asi?ir)<$eoi} 517 

receive tidings of his progress up the Kennebec, and expect* 
ing that the expedition would reach Quebec about the mid- 
dle of October. In the interim came letters from General 
Schuyler, giving particulars of the main expedition. 

In a preceding chapter we left the general and his little 
army at the Isle aux Noix, near the Sorel River, the outlet 
of the lake. Thence, on the 5th of September, he sent Col- 
onel Ethan Allen and Major Brown to reconnoiter the coun- 
try between that river and the St. Lawrence, to distribute 
friendly addresses among the people and ascertain their feel- 
ings. This done, and having landed his baggage and pro- 
visions, the general proceeded along the Sorel River the next 
day with his boats, until within two miles of St. John's, when 
a cannonade was opened from the fort. Keeping on for half 
a mile further, he landed his troops in a deep, close swamp, 
where they had a sharp skirmish with an ambuscade of 
tories and Indians, whom they beat off with some loss on 
both sides. Night coming on, they cast up a small intrencb- 
ment, and encamped, disturbed occasionally by shells from 
the fort, which, however, did no other mischief than slightly 
wounding a lieutenant. 

In the night the camp was visited secretly by a person 
who informed General Schuyler of the state of the fort. The 
works were completed and furnished with cannon. A vessel 
pierced for sixteen guns was launched, and would be ready 
to sail in three or four days. It was not probable that any 
Canadians would join the army, being disposed to remain 
neutral. This intelligence being discussed in a council of 
war in the morning, it was determined that they had neither 
men nor artillery sufficient to undertake the siege. They 
returned, therefore, to the Isle aux Noix, cast up fortifica- 
tions, and threw a boom across the channel of the river, to 

518 U/orl^s of U/asl?fQ$toi) Irvipo; 

prevent the passage of the enemy's vessels into the lake, and 
awaited the arrival of artillery and re-enforcements from 

In the course of a few days the expected re-enforcements 
arrived, and with them a small train of artillery. Ethan 
Allen also returned from his reconnoitering expedition, of 
which he made a most encouraging report. The Canadian 
captains of militia were ready, he said, to join the Amer- 
icans, whenever they should appear with sufficient force. 
He had held talks, too, with the Indians, and found them 
well disposed. In a word, he was convinced that an attack 
on St. John's, and an inroad into the province, would meet 
with hearty co-operation. 

Preparations were now made for the investment of St. 
John's by land and water. Major Brown, who had already 
acted as a scout, was sent with one hundred Americans, and 
about thirty Canadians, toward Chamblee, to make friends 
in that quarter, and to join the army as soon as it should 
arrive at St. John's. 

To quiet the restless activity of Ethan Allen, who had no 
command in the army, he was sent with an escort of thirty 
men to retrace his steps, penetrate to La Prairie, and beat 
up for recruits among the people whom he had recently 

For some time past General Schuyler had been struggling 
with a complication of maladies, but exerting himself to the 
utmost in the harassing business of the camp, still hoping 
to be able to move with the army. When everything was 
nearly ready, he was attacked in the night by a severe access 
of his disorder, which confined him to his bed, and compelled 
him to surrender the conduct of the expedition to General 
Montgomery. Since he could be of no further use, therefore, 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)$toi) 519 

in this quarter, he caused his bed, as before, to be placed 
on board a covered bateau, and set off for Ticonderoga, to 
hasten forward re-enforcements and supplies. An hour after 
his departure, he met Colonel Seth Warner, with one hun- 
dred and seventy Green Mountain Boys, steering for the 
camp, " being the first," adds he, "that have appeared of 
that boasted corps." Some had mutinied and deserted the 
colonel, and the remainder were at Crown Point, whence 
they were about to embark. 

Such was the purport of different letters received from 
Schuyler; the last bearing date September 20th. Washing- 
ton was deeply concerned when informed ftiat he had quitted 
the army, supposing that General Wooster, as the eldest 
brigadier, would take rank and command of Montgomery, 
and considering him deficient in the activity and energy 
required by the difficult service in which he was engaged. 
"I am, therefore," writes he to Schuyler, "much alarmed 
for Arnold, whose expedition was built upon yours, and who 
will infallibly perish, if the invasion and entry into Canada 
are abandoned by your successor. I hope by this time the 
penetration into Canada by your army is effected ; but if it 
is not, and there are any intentions to lay it aside, I beg 
it may be done in such a manner that Arnold may be saved, 
by giving him notice ; and in the meantime, your army may 
keep such appearances as to fix Carleton, and to prevent the 
force of Canada being turned wholly upon Arnold. 

"Should this find you at Albany, and General Wooster 
about taking the command, I entreat you to impress him 
strongly with the importance and necessity of proceeding, or 
so to conduct, that Arnold may have time to retreat." 

What caused this immediate solicitude about Arnold was 
a letter received from him, dated ten days previously from 

520 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir)$tor} Iri/ir)$ 

Fort Western, on the Kennebec River. He had sent recon- 
noitering parties ahead in light canoes, to gain intelligence 
from the Indians, and take the courses and distances to Dead 
River, a branch of the Kennebec, and he was now forward- 
ing his troops in bateaux in five divisions, one day's march 
apart; Morgan with his riflemen in the first division, Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Roger Enos commanding the last. As soon 
as the last division should be under way, Arnold was to set 
off in a light skiff to overtake the advance. Chaudiere 
Pond, on the Chaudiere River, was the appointed ren- 
dezvous, whence they were to march in a body toward 

Judging from the date of the letter, Arnold must at this 
time be making his way, by land and water, through an un- 
inhabited and unexplored wilderness; and beyond the reach 
of recall ; his situation, therefore, would be desperate should 
General Wooster fail to follow up the campaign against St. 
John's. The solicitude of Washington on his account was 
heightened by the consciousness that the hazardous enter- 
prise in which he was engaged had chiefly been set on foot 
by himself, and he felt in some degree responsible for the 
safety of the resolute partisan and his companions. 

Fortunately, Wooster was not the successor to Schuyler 
in the command of the expedition. Washington was mis- 
taken as to the rank of his commission, which was one de- 
gree lower than that of Montgomery. The veteran himself, 
who was a gallant soldier, and had seen service in two wars, 
expressed himself nobly in the matter, in reply to some in- 
quiry made by Schuyler. "I have the cause of my country 
too much at heart," said he, "to attempt to make any diffi- 
culty or uneasiness in the army, upon whom the success of 
an enterprise of almost infinite importance to the country is 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi7 521 

now depending. I shall consider my rank in the army what 
my commission from the Continental Congress makes it, and 
shall not attempt to dispute the command with General Mont- 
gomery at St. John's." We shall give some further particu- 
lars concerning this expedition against St. John's, toward 
which Washington was turning so anxious an eye. 

On the 16th of September, the day after Schuyler's de- 
parture for Ticonderoga, Montgomery proceeded to carry 
out the plans which had been concerted between them. 
Landing on the 17th at the place where they had formerly 
encamped, within a mile and a half of the fort, he detached 
a force of five hundred men, among whom were three hun- 
dred Green Mountain Boys under Colonel Seth Warner, to 
take a position at the juncture of two roads leading to Mont- 
real and Chamblee, so as to intercept relief from those 
points. He now proceeded to invest St. John's. A battery 
was erected on a point of land commanding the fort, the ship- 
yards and the armed schooner. Another was thrown up in 
the woods on the east side of the fort, at six hundred yards' 
distance, and furnished with two small mortars. All this 
was done under an incessant fire from the enemy, which as 
yet was but feebly returned. 

St. John's had a garrison of five or six hundred regulars 
and two hundred Canadian militia. Its commander, Major 
Preston, made a brave resistance. Montgomery had not 
proper battering cannon; his mortars were defective; his 
artillerists unpracticed, and the engineer ignorant of the 
first principles of the art. The siege went on slowly, until 
the arrival of an artillery company under Captain Lamb, 
expedited from Saratoga by General Schuyler. Lamb, who 
was an able officer, immediately bedded a thirteen-inch mor- 
tar, and commenced a fire of shot and shells upon the fort. 

522 U/or^s of U/asl?i^top Iruii>$ 

The distance, however, was too great, and the positions of 
the batteries were ill chosen. 

A flourishing letter was received by the general from 
Colonel Ethan Allen, giving hope of further re-enforcement- 
"I am now," writes he, "at the Parish of St. Ours, four 
leagues from Sorel to the south. I have two hundred and 
fifty Canadians under arms. As I march, they gather fast. 
You may rely on it that I shall join you in about three days 
with five hundred or more Canadian volunteers. I could 
raise one or two thousand in a week's time ; but I will first 
visit the army with a less number, and, if necessary, go 
again recruiting. Those who used to be enemies to our 
cause come cap in hand to me ; and I swear by the Lord 
I can raise three times the number of our army in Canada 

provided you continue the siege The eyes of all 

America, nay, of Europe, are or will be on the economy of 
this army and the consequences attending it." * 

Allen was actually on his way toward St. John's, when, 
between Longueil and La Prairie, he met Major Brown with 
his party of Americans and Canadians. A conversation 
took place between them. Brown assured him that the 
garrison at Montreal did not exceed thirty men, and might 
easily be surprised. Allen's partisan spirit was instantly 
excited. Here was a chance for another bold stroke equal 
to that at Ticonderoga. A plan was forthwith agreed upon. 
Allen was to return to Longueil, which is nearly opposite 
Montreal, and cross the St. Lawrence in canoes in the night, 
so as to land a little below the town. Brown, with two hun- 
dred men, was to cross above, and Montreal was to be at- 
tacked simultaneously at opposite points. 

* Am. Archives, 4th Series, iii. 754. 

Cife of U/asl?in$tor; 523 

All this was arranged and put in action without the con- 
sent or knowledge of General Montgomery ; Allen was again 
the partisan leader, acting from individual impulse. His 
late letter to General Montgomery would seem to have par- 
taken of fanfaronade; for the whole force with which he 
undertook his part of this inconsiderate enterprise was 
thirty Americans and eighty Canadians. With these he 
crossed the river on the night of the 24th of September, the 
few canoes found at Longueil having to pass to and fro re- 
peatedly, before his petty force could be landed. Guards 
were stationed on the roads to prevent any one passing, and 
giving the alarm in Montreal. Day dawned, but there was 
no signal of Major Brown having performed his part of the 
scheme. The enterprise seems to have been as ill concerted 
as it was ill advised. The day advanced, but still no signal ; 
it was evident Major Brown had not crossed, Allen would 
gladly have recrossed the river, but it was too late. An 
alarm had been given to the town, and he soon found him- 
self encountered by about forty regular soldiers and a hasty 
levy of Canadians and Indians. A smart action ensued; 
most of Allen's Canadian recruits gave way and fled, a 
number of Americans were slain, and he at length surren- 
dered to the British officer, Major Campbell, being promised 
honorable terms for himself and thirty-eight of his men, who 
remained with him, seven of whom were wounded. The 
prisoners were marched into the town and delivered over to 
General Prescott, the commandant. Their rough appear- 
ance, and rude equipments, were not likely to gain them 
favor in the eyes of the military tactician, who doubtless 
considered them as little better than a band of freebooters 
on a maraud. Their leader, albeit a colonel, must have 
seemed worthy of the band ; for Allen was arrayed in rough 

524 U/orKs of U/asl?ir>^toi) Irvii)<$ 

frontier style; a deer-skin jacket, a vest and breeches of 
coarse serge, worsted stockings, stout shoes, and a red 
woolen cap. 

We give Allen's own account of his reception by the 
British officer. "He asked me my name, which I told him. 
He then asked me whether I was that Colonel Allen who 
took Ticonderoga. I told him I was the very man. Then 
he shook his cane over my head, calling me many hard 
names, among which he frequently used the word rebel, and 
put himself in a great rage. ' ' * 

Ethan Allen, according to his own account, answered 
with becoming spirit. Indeed, he gives somewhat of a melo- 
dramatic scene, which ended by his being sent on board of 
the "Gaspee" schooner of war, heavily ironed, to be trans- 
ported to England for trial ; Prescott giving him the parting 
assurance, sealed with an emphatic oath, that he would grace 
a halter at Tyburn. 

Neither Allen's courage nor his rhetorical vein deserted 
him on this trying occasion. From his place of confinement, 
he indited the following epistle to the general : 

"Honorable Sir — In the wheel of transitory events I 
find myself prisoner, and in irons. Probably your honor 
has certain reasons to me inconceivable, though I challenge 
an instance of this sort of economy of the Americans during 
the late war to any officers of the crown. On my part, I 
have to assure your honor that, when I had the command, 
and took Captain Delaplace and Lieutenant Fulton, with the 
garrison of Ticonderoga, I treated them with every mark of 
friendship and generosity, the evidence of which is notorious, 

* Am. Archives, iii. 800. 

Cife of U/asl?iD<$toi) 525 

even in Canada. I have only to add that I expect an honor- 
able and humane treatment, as an officer of my rank and 
merit should have, and subscribe myself your honor's most 
obedient servant, Ethan Allen. ' ' 

In the British publication from which we cite the above, 
the following note is appended to the letter, probably on the 
authority of General Prescott: "N.B. The author of the 
above letter is an outlaw, and a reward is offered by the 
New York Assembly for apprehending him." * 

The reckless dash at Montreal was viewed with concern 
by the American commander. "I am apprehensive of dis- 
agreeable consequences arising from Mr. Allen's impru- 
dence,' J writes General Schuyler. "I always dreaded his 
impatience of insubordination, and it was not until after a 
solemn promise made me in the presence of several officers, 
that he would demean himself with propriety, that I would 
permit him to attend the army ; nor would I have consented 
then, had not his solicitations been backed by several officers." 

The conduct of Allen was also severely censured by Wash- 
ington. "His misfortune,' ' said he, "will, I hope, teach a 
lesson of prudence and subordination to others who may be 
ambitious to outshine their general officers, and, regardless 
of order and duty, rush into enterprises which have unfavor- 
able effects on the public, and are destructive to themselves." 

Partisan exploit had, in fact, inflated the vanity and be- 
wildered the imagination of Allen, and unfitted him for regu- 
lar warfare. Still his name will ever be a favorite one with 
his countrymen. Even his occasional rodomontade will be 
tolerated with a good-humored smile, backed as it was by 

* Remembrancer, ii. 51. 

£26 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) In/ir)<$ 

deeds of daring courage ; and among the hardy pioneers of 
our Revolution whose* untutored valor gave the first earnests 
of its triumphs, will be remembered, with honor, the rough 
Green Mountain partisan, who seized upon the "Keys of 

In the letters of Schuyler, which gave Washington ac- 
counts, from time to time, of the preceding events, were sad 
?epinings of his own illness, and the multiplied annoyances 
which beset him. "The vexation of spirit under which I 
labor," writes he, "that a barbarous complication of disor- 
ders should prevent me from reaping those laurels for which 
I have unweariedly wrought since I was honored with this 
command ; the anxiety I have suffered since my arrival here 
(at Titonderoga), lest the army should starve, occasioned by 
a scandalous want of subordination, and inattention to my 
orders, in some of the officers that I left to command at the 
different posts; the vast variety of disagreeable and vexa- 
tious incidents that almost every hour arise in some depart- 
ment or other — not only retard my cure, but have put me 
considerably back for some days past. If Job had been a 
general in my situation, his memory had not been so famous 
for patience. But the glorious end we have in view, and 
which I have confident hope will be attained, will atone for 
all." "Washington replied in that spirit of friendship which 
existed between them. "You do me justice in believing that 
I feel the utmost anxiety for your situation, that I sympa- 
thize with you in all your distresses, and shall most heartily 
share in the joy of your success. My anxiety extends itself 
to poor Arnold, whose fate depends upon the issue of your 

campaign The more I reflect upon the importance 

of your expedition, the greater is my concern, lest it should 
aink under insuperable difficulties. I look upon the interests 

Cife of U/a8l?ir><$tor) 527 

and salvation of our bleeding country in a great degree as 
depending upon your success.' ' 

Shortly after writing the above, and while he was still 
full of solicitude about the fate of Arnold, he received a dis- 
patch from the latter, dated October 13th, from the great 
portage or carrying-place between the Kennebec and Dead 

"Your Excellency/' writes Arnold, "may possibly think 
we have been tardy in our march, as we have gained so lit 
tie ; but when you consider the badness and weight of the 
bateaux, and large quantities of provisions, etc., we have 
been obliged to force up against a very rapid stream, where 
you would have taken the men for amphibious animals, as 
they were a great part of the time under water : add to this 
the great fatigue in the portage, you will think I have 
pushed the men as fast as they could possibly bear." 

The toils of the expedition up the Kennebec River had in- 
deed been excessive. Part of the men of each division man- 
aged the boats — part marched along the banks. Those on 
board had to labor against swift currents; to unload at 
rapids; transport the cargoes, and sometimes the boats 
themselves, for some distance on their shoulders, and then 
to reload. They were days in making their way round stu- 
pendous cataracts ; several times their boats were upset and 
filled with water, to the loss or damage of arms, ammuni- 
tion, and provisions. 

Those on land had to scramble over rocks and precipices; 
to struggle through swamps and fenny streams; or cut their 
way through tangled thickets, which reduced their clothes 
to rags. With all their efforts, their progress was but from 
four to ten miles a day. At night the men of each division 
encamped together. 

528 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Irvii)<$ 

By the time they arrived at the place whence the letter 
was written, fatigue, swamp fevers and desertion had re- 
duced their numbers to about nine hundred and fifty effect- 
ive men. Arnold, however, wrote in good heart. "The last 
division," said he, "is just arrived; three divisions are over 
the first carrying-place, and as the men are in high spirits, I 
make no doubt of reaching the river Chaudiere in eight or 
ten days, the greatest difficulty being, I hope, already past." 

He had some days previously dispatched an Indian, whom 
he considered trusty, with a letter to General Schuyler, ap- 
prising him of his whereabout, but as yet had received no 
intelligence either of, or from the general, nor did he expect 
to receive any until he should reach Chaudiere Pond. There 
he calculated to meet the return of his express, and then to 
determine his plan of operations. 


British in Boston send out Cruisers — Depredations of Captain Wal- 
lace along the Coast — Treason in the Camp — Arrest of Dr. 
Church — His Trial and Fate — Conflagration at Falmouth — Iriv 
tation throughout the Country — Fitting out of Vessels of War 
— Embarkation of General Gage for England — Committee from 
Congress — Conferences with Washington — Resolutions of Con- 
gress to carry on the War — Return of Secretary Reed to Phila- 

"While the two expeditions were threatening Canada 
from different quarters, the war was going on along the 
seaboard. The British in Boston, cut off from supplies by 
land, fitted out small armed vessels to seek them along the 
coast of New England. The inhabitants drove their cattle 
into the interior, or boldly resisted the aggressors. Parties 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 529 

landing to forage were often repulsed by hasty levies of the 
yeomanry. Scenes of ravage and violence occurred. Ston- 
ington was cannonaded, and further measures of vengeance 
were threatened by Captain Wallace, of the "Rose" man-of« 
war, a naval officer who had acquired an almost piratical 
reputation along the coast, and nad his rendezvous in the 
harbor of Newport : domineering over the waters of Rhode 

About this time there was an occurrence which caused 
great excitement in the armies. A woman, coming from 
the camp at Cambridge, applied to a Mr. Wainwood of New- 
port, Rhode Island, to aid her in gaining access to Captain 
Wallace, or Mr. Dudley, the collector. Wainwood, who was 
a patriot, drew from her the object of her errand. She was 
the bearer of a letter from some one in camp, directed to 
Major Kane, in Boston ; but which she was to deliver either 
to the captain or the collector. Suspecting something wrong, 
he prevailed upon her to leave it with him for delivery. 
After her departure he opened the letter. It was written in 
cipher, which he could not read. He took it to Mr. Henry 
Ward, secretary of the colony. The latter, apprehending it 
might contain treasonable information to the enemy, trans- 
mitted it to General Greene, who laid it before Washington. 

A letter in cipher to a person in Boston hostile to the 
cause, and to be delivered into the hands of Captain Wal- 
lace, the nautical marauder ! There evidently was treason in 
the camp; but how was the traitor to be detected? The first 
step was to secure the woman, the bearer of the letter, who 
had returned to Cambridge. Tradition gives us a graphic 

* Gov. Trumbull to Washington. Sparks' Corresp. of 
the Revolution, i. 27. 

* * * w— Vol. XII. 

•530 U/orl^g of ll/as^ir^tor) lrvir)$ 

scene connected with her arrest. Washington was in his 
chamber at headquarters, when he beheld from his window 
General Putnam approaching on horseback, with a stout 
woman en croupe behind him. He had pounced upon the 
culprit. The group presented by the old general and his 
prize overpowered even Washington's gravity. It was the 
only occasion throughout the whole campaign on which he 
was known to laugh heartily. He had recovered his gravity 
by the time the delinquent was brought to the foot; of the 
broad staircase in headquarters, and assured her in a severe 
tone from the head of it that, unless she confessed every- 
thing before the next morning, a halter would be in readiness 
for her. 

So far the tradition; his own letter to the President of 
Congress states that, for a long time, the woman was proof 
against every threat and persuasion to discover the author, 
but at length named Dr. Benjamin Church. It seemed in 
credible. He had borne the character of a distinguished pa- 
triot ; he was the author of various patriotic writings ; a mem- 
ber of the Massachusetts House of Representatives ; one of the 
committee deputed to conduct Washington to the army, and 
at present he discharged the functions of surgeon-general and 
director of the hospitals. That such a man should be in trait- 
orous correspondence with the enemy was a thunderstroke. 
Orders were given to secure him and his papers. On his 
arrest he was extremely agitated, but acknowledged the let- 
ter, and said it would be found, when deciphered, to contain 
nothing criminal. His papers were searched, but nothing of 
a treasonable nature was discovered. "It appeared, how- 
ever, on inquiry,' ' says Washington, "that a confidant had 
been among the papers before my messenger arrived." 

The letter was deciphered. It gave a description of the 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) 531 

army. The doctor made an awkward defense, protesting 
that he had given an exaggerated account of the American 
force, for the purpose of deterring the enemy from attack- 
ing the American lines in their present defenseless condition 
from the want of powder. His explanations were not satis- 
factory. The army and country were exceedingly irritated. 
In a council of war he was convicted of criminal correspond- 
ence; he was expelled from the Massachusetts House of 
Representatives, and the Continental Congress ultimately 
resolved that he should be confined in some secure jail in 
Connecticut, without the use of pen, ink, or paper; "and 
that no person be allowed to converse with him, except in 
the presence and hearing of a magistrate, or the sheriff of 
the county." 

His sentence was afterward mitigated on account of his 
health, and he was permitted to leave the country. He em- 
barked for the West Indies, and is supposed to have perished 
at sea. 

What had caused especial irritation in the case of Dr. 
Church was the kind of warfare already mentioned, carried 
on along the coast by British cruisers, and notoriously by 
Captain Wallace. To check these maraudings, and to capt- 
ure the enemy's transports laden with supplies, the provinces 
of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut fitted out 
two armed vessels each, at their own expense, without seek- 
ing the sanction or aid of Congress. Washington, also, on 
his own responsibility, ordered several to be equipped for like 
purpose, which were to be manned by hardy mariners, and 
commanded by able sea captains, actually serving in the 
army. One of these vessels was dispatched as soon as ready, 
and sent to cruise between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. Two 
others were fitted out in all haste, and sent to cruise in the 

532 U/orl^s of U/asl?ir>^tor) Iruii)©; 

waters of the St. Lawrence, to intercept two unarmed brig 
antines which Congress had been informed had sailed from 
England for Quebec, with ammunition and military stores. 
Among the sturdy little New England seaports which had 
become obnoxious to punishment by resistance to nautical 
exactions, was Falmouth (now Portland), in Maine. 

On the evening of the 11th of October, Lieutenant Mow- 
at, of the royal navy, appeared before it with several armed 
vessels, and sent a letter on shore, apprising the inhabitants 
that he was come to execute a just punishment on them 
for their " premeditated attacks on the legal prerogatives 
of the best of sovereigns.' ' Two hours were given them, 
"to remove the human species out of the town," at the 
period of which, a red pendant hoisted at the maintop- 
gallant masthead, and a gun, would be the signal for 

The letter brought a deputation of three persons on board. 
The lieutenant informed them verbally that he had orders 
from Admiral Graves to set fire to all the seaport towns 
between Boston and Halifax ; and he expected New York, 
at the present moment, was in ashes. 

With much difficulty, and on the surrendering of some 
arms, the committee obtained a respite until nine o'clock the 
next morning, and the inhabitants improved the interval in 
removing their families and effects. The next morning the 
committee returned on board before nine o'clock. The lieu- 
tenant now offered to spare the town on certain conditions, 
which were refused. About half -past nine o'clock the red 
pendant was run up to the masthead, and the signal gun 
fired. Within five minutes several houses were in flames, 
from a discharge of carcasses and bombshells, which con- 
tinued throughout the day. The inhabitants, "standing on 

Cife of U/asf?ir><$toi? 533 

the heights, were spectators of the conflagration, which re- 
duced many of them to penury and despair." One hundred 
and thirty-nine dwelling houses, and two hundred and 
twenty-eight stores, are said to have been burned.* All 
the vessels in the harbor, likewise, were destroyed or car- 
ried away as prizes. 

Having satisfied his sense of justice with respect to Fal- 
mouth, the gallant lieutenant left it a smoking ruin, and 
made sail, as was said, for Boston, to supply himself with 
more ammunition, having the intention to destroy Ports- 
mouth also, f 

The conflagration of Falmouth was as a bale-fire through- 
out the country. Lieutenant Mowat was said to have in- 
formed the committee at that place that orders had come 
from England to burn all the seaport towns that would not 
lay down and deliver up their arms, and give hostages for 
their good behavior. J 

Washington himself supposed such to be the case. "The 
desolation and misery," writes he, "which ministerial ven- 
geance had planned, in contempt of every principle of hu- 
manity, and so lately brought on the town of Falmouth, I 
know not how sufficiently to commiserate, nor can my com- 
passion for the general suffering be conceived beyond the 
true measure of my feelings." 

General Greene, too, in a letter to a friend, expresses 
himself with equal warmth. "Oh, could the Congress be- 
hold the distresses and wretched condition of the poor inhab- 
itants driven from the seaport towns, it must, it would, kin- 
dle a blaze of indignation against the commissioned pirates 

* Holmes's Annals, ii. 220. f Letter of P. Jones. 

X Letter from Gen. Greene to Gov. Cooke. 

534 U/orl{8 of ll/as^ir^tor) Irvii)$ 

and licensed robbers People begin heartily to wish 

a declaration of independence. ' ' * 

General Sullivan was sent to Portsmouth, where there 
was a fortification of some strength, to give the inhabitants 
his advice and assistance in warding off the menaced blow. 
Newport, also, was put on the alert, and recommended to 
fortify herself. "I expect every hour," writes Washing- 
ton, "to hear that Newport has shared the same fate of 
unhappy Falmouth, "f 

Under the feeling roused by these reports, the 
General Court of Massachusetts, exercising a sovereign 
power, passed an act for encouraging the fitting out of 
armed vessels to defend the seacoast of America, and for 
erecting a court to try and condemn all vessels that should 
be found infesting the same. This act, granting letters of 
marque and reprisal, anticipated any measure of the kind on 
the part of the general government, and was pronounced 
by John Adams, "one of the most important documents in 
history." J 

The British ministry have, in later days, been exculpated 
from the charge of issuing such a desolating order as that 
said to have been reported by Lieutenant Mowat. The or- 
ders under which that officer acted, we are told, emanated 
from General Gage and Admiral Graves. The former in- 
tended merely the annoyance and destruction of rebel ship- 
ping, whether on the coast or in the harbors to the eastward 
of Boston ; the burning of the town is surmised to have been 
an additional thought of Admiral Graves. Naval officers 
have a passion for bombardments. 

* Letter to the President of Congress. 

f Am. Archives, hi. 1145. J See Life of Gerry, 109. 

Cife of U/asI?in<$ton 535 

Whatever part General Gage may have had in this most 
ill-advised and discreditable measure, it was the last of his 
military government, and he did not remain long enough in 
the country to see it carried into effect. He sailed for Eng- 
land on the 10th of October. The tidings of the battle of 
Bunker's Hill had withered his laurels as a commander. 
Still he was not absolutely superseded, but called home, "in 
order/ ' as it was considerately said, "to give his Majesty 
exact information of everything, and suggest such matters 
as his knowledge and experience of the service might enable 
him to furnish." During his absence, Major-general Howe 
would act as commander-in-chief of the colonies on the At- 
lantic Ocean, and Major-general Carleton of the British 
forces in Canada, and on the frontiers. Gage fully ex- 
pected to return and resume the command. In a letter 
written to the minister, Lord Dartmouth, the day before 
sailing, he urged the arrival, early in the spring, of re-en- 
forcements which had been ordered, anticipating great haz- 
ard at the opening of the campaign. In the meantime he 
trusted that two thousand troops, shortly expected from Ire- 
land, would enable him "to distress the rebels by incursions 
along the coast" ; and "he hoped Portsmouth in New Hamp- 
shire would feel the weight of his Majesty's arms." "Poor 
Gage," writes Horace Walpole, "is to be the scapegoat for 
what was a reason against employing him — incapacity. " He 
never returned to America. 

On the 15th of October a committee from Congress ar- 
rived in camp, sent to hold a conference with Washington, 
and with delegates from the governments of Connecticut, 
Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, on the 
subject of a new organization of the army. The committee 
consisted of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Lynch of Carolina, 

536 U/or^s of U/asf?ir)$toi> Iruip<? 

and Colonel Harrison of Virginia. It was just twenty years 
since Washington had met Franklin in Braddock's camp, 
aiding that unwary general by his sagacious counsels and 
prompt expedients. Franklin was regarded with especial 
deference in the camp at Cambridge. Greene, who had 
never met with him before, listened to him as to an 

Washington was president of the board of conference, 
and Mr. Joseph Reed secretary. The committee brought 
an intimation from Congress that an attack upon Boston was 
much desired, if practicable. 

Washington called a council of war of his generals on the 
subject ; they were unanimously of the opinion that an attack 
would not be prudent at present. 

Another question now arose. An attack upon the British 
forces in Boston, whenever it should take place, might re- 
quire a bombardment ; Washington inquired of the delegates 
how far it might be pushed to the destruction of houses and 
property. They considered it a question of too much impor- 
tance to be decided by them, and said it must be referred to 
Congress. But though they declined taking upon them- 
selves the responsibility, the majority of them were strongly 
in favor of it ; and expressed themselves so when the matter 
was discussed informally in camp. Two of the committee, 
Lynch and Harrison, as well as Judge Wales, delegate from 
Connecticut, when the possible effects of a bombardment 
were suggested at a dinner table, declared that they would 
be willing to see Boston in flames. Lee, who was present, 
observed that it was impossible to burn it unless they sent in 
men with bundles of straw to do it. "It could not be done 
with carcasses and red-hot shot. Isle Royal," he added, "in 
the river St. Lawren«@, had been fired at for a long time in 

Cife of U/asl?iQ<$tor) 537 

1760, with a fine train of artillery, hot-shot, and carcasses, 
without effect.' ' * 

The board of conference was repeatedly in session for 
three or four days. The report of its deliberations rendered 
by the committee, produced a resolution of Congress that a 
new army of twenty -two thousand two hundred and seventy- 
two men and officers should be formed, to be recruited as 
much as possible from the troops actually in service. Un- 
fortunately, the term for which they were to be enlisted was 
to be but for one year. It formed a precedent which be- 
came a recurring cause of embarrassment throughout the 

Washington's secretary, Mr. Reed, had, after the close 
of the conference, signified to him his intention to return to 
Philadelphia, where his private concerns required his pres- 
ence. His departure was deeply regretted. His fluent pen 
had been of great assistance to Washington in the dispatch 
of his multifarious correspondence, and his judicious coun- 
sels and cordial sympathies had been still more appreciated 
by the commander-in-chief, amid the multiplied difficulties 
of his situation. On the departure of Mr. Reed, his place as 
secretary was temporarily supplied by Mr. Robert Harrison 
of Maryland, and subsequently by Colonel Mifflin; neither, 
however, attained to the affectionate confidence reposed in 
their predecessor. 

We shall have occasion to quote the correspondence kept 
up between Washington and Reed, during the absence of the 
latter. The letters of the former are peculiarly interesting, 
as giving views of what was passing, not merely around 

* Life of Dr. Belknap, p. 96. The doctor was present at 
the above-cited conversation. 

538 U/orl^s of U/as^ir>^toi> \rv\T)$ 

him, but in the recesses of his own heart. No greater proof 
need be given of the rectitude of that heart than the clear- 
ness and fullness with which, in these truthful documents, 
every thought and feeling is laid open. 


Measures of General Howe — Desecration of Churches — Three Proc- 
lamations—Seizure of Tories — Want of Artillery — Henry Knox, 
the Artillerist — His Mission to Ticonderoga — Re-enlistment of 
Troops — Lack of Public Spirit — Comments of General Greene 

The measures which General Howe had adopted, after 
taking command in Boston, rejoiced the royalists, seeming 
to justify their anticipations. He proceeded to strengthen 
the works on Bunker's Hill and Boston Neck, and to clear 
away houses and throw up redoubts on eminences within the 
town. The patriot inhabitants were shocked by the desecra- 
tion of the Old South Church, which for more than a hun- 
dred years had been a favorite place of worship, where some 
of the most eminent divines had officiated. The pulpit and 
pews were now removed, the floor was covered with earth, 
and the sacred edifice was converted into a riding-school for 
Burgoyne's light dragoons. To excuse its desecration, it 
was spoken of scoffingly as a "meeting-house, where sedi- 
tion had often been preached." 

The North Church, another ' 'meeting-house," was en- 
tirely demolished, and used for fuel. "Thus," says a chron- 
icler of the day, "thus are our houses devoted to religious 
worship profaned and destroyed by the subjects of his royal 

* Thacher's Military Journal, p. 50. 

Cife of U/asl?ip<$toi> 539 

About the last of October, Howe issued three proclama- 
tions. The first forbade all persons to leave Boston without 
his permission, under pain of military execution ; the second 
forbade any one, so permitted, to take with him more than 
five pounds sterling under pain of forfeiting all the money 
found upon his person, and being subject to fine and im- 
prisonment; the third called upon the inhabitants to arm 
themselves for the preservation of order within the town ; 
they to be commanded by officers of his appointment. 

Washington had recently been incensed by the conflagra- 
tion of Falmouth; the conduct of Governor Dunmore, who 
had proclaimed martial law in Virginia, and threatened ruin 
to the patriots, had added to his provocation; the measures 
of General Howe seemed of the same harsh character, and 
he determined to retaliate. 

' 'Would it not be prudent," writes he to Governor Trum- 
bull of Connecticut, "to seize those tories who have been, 
are, and we know will be active against us? Why should 
persons who are preying upon the vitals of their country be 
suffered to stalk at large, while we know they will do us 
every mischief in their power?" 

In this spirit he ordered General Sullivan, who was forti- 
fying Portsmouth, "to seize upon such persons as held com- 
missions under the crown, and were acting as open and 
avowed enemies to their country, and hold them as host- 
ages for the security of the town." Still he was moderate 
in his retaliation, and stopped short of private individuals. 
"For the present," said he, "I shall avoid giving the like 
order with regard to the tories of Portsmouth ; but the day 
is not far off when they will meet with this, or a worse fate, 
if there is not a considerable reformation in their conduct."* 

* Letter to William Palfrey. Sparks, hi. 158. 

540 U/orKs of U/as^ip^toi) Irving 

The season was fast approaching when the bay between 
the camp and Boston would be frozen over, and military 
operations might be conducted upon the ice. General Howe, 
if re-enforced, would then very probably * 'endeavor to relieve 
himself from the disgraceful confinement in which the minis- 
terial troops had been all summer." Washington felt the 
necessity, therefore, of guarding the camps wherever they 
were most assailable ; and of throwing up batteries for the 
purpose. He had been embarrassed throughout the siege by 
the want of artillery and ordnance stores; but never more so 
than at the present moment. In this juncture, Mr. Henry 
Knox stepped forward, and offered to proceed to the frontier 
forts on Champlain in quest of a supply. 

Knox was one of those providential characters which 
spring up in emergencies, as if they were formed by and 
for the occasion. A thriving bookseller in Boston, he had 
thrown up business to take up arms for the liberties of his 
country. He was one of the patriots who had fought on 
Bunker's Hill, since when he had aided in planning the de- 
fenses of the camp before Boston. The aptness and talent 
here displayed by him as an artillerist had recently induced 
Washington to recommend him to Congress for the com- 
mand of the regiment of artillery in place of the veteran 
Gridley, who was considered by all the officers of the camp 
too old for active employment. Congress had not yet acted 
on that recommendation; in the meantime Washington 
availed himself of the offered services of Knox in the pres- 
ent instance. He was, accordingly, instructed to examine 
into the state of the artillery in camp, and take an account 
of the cannon, mortars, shells, lead, and ammunition that 
were wanting. He was then to hasten to New York, pro- 
cure and forward all that could be had there; and thence 

Cife of U/as^ip^toi? 541 

proceed to the headquarters of General Schuyler, who was 
requested by letter to aid him in obtaining what further sup- 
plies of the kind were wanting from the forts at Ticonderoga, 
Crown Point, St. Johns, and even Quebec, should it be in 
the hands of the Americans. Knox set off on his errand 
with promptness and alacrity, and shortly afterward the 
commission of colonel of the regiment of artillery, which 
Washington had advised, was forwarded to him by Con- 

The re-enlistment of troops actually in service was now 
attempted, and proved a fruitful source of perplexity. In 
a letter to the President of Congress, Washington observes 
that half of the officers of the rank of captain were inclined 
to retire ; and it was probable their example would influence 
their men. Of those who were disposed to remain, the 
officers of one colony were unwilling to mix in the same 
regiment with those of another. Many sent in their names 
to serve in expectation of promotion; others stood aloof, to 
see what advantages they could make for themselves; while 
those who had declined sent in their names again to serve.* 
The difficulties were greater, if possible, with the soldiers 
than with the officers. They would not enlist unless they 
knew their colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and captain; Con- 
necticut men being unwilling to serve under officers from 
Massachusetts, and Massachusetts men under officers from 
Rhode Island ; so that it was necessary to appoint the officers 

Twenty days later he again writes to the President of 
Congress: "I am sorry to be necessitated to mention to you 
the egregious want of public spirit which prevails here. In- 

* Washington to the President of Congress, Nov. 8. 

(542 Worlds of U/asl?ir)$tor) Iruio$ 

stead of pressing to be engaged in the cause of the country, 
which I vainly flattered myself would be the case, I find we 

are likely to be deserted in a most critical time Our 

situation is truly alarming, and of this General Howe is well 
apprised. No doubt when he is re-enforced he will avail 
himself of the information." 

In a letter to Reed he disburdened his heart more com- 
pletely. ''Such dearth of public spirit, and such want of 
virtue; such stock- jobbing, and fertility in all the low arts 
to obtain advantage of one kind or another in this great 
change of military arrangement, I never saw before, and I 
pray God's mercy that I may never be witness to again. 
"What will be the end of these maneuvers is beyond my scan. 
I tremble at the prospect. We have been till this time (Nov. 
28th) enlisting about three thousand hundred men. To 
engage these I have been obliged to allow furloughs as far 
as fifty men to a regiment, and the officers, I am persuaded, 
indulge many more. The Connecticut troops will not be 
prevailed upon to stay longer than their term, saving those 
who have enlisted for the next campaign, and are mostly on 
furlough ; and such a mercenary spirit pervades the whole 
that I should not be surprised at any disaster that may hap- 
pen Could I have foreseen what I have experienced 

and am likely to experience, no consideration upon earth 
should have induced me to accept this command." 

No one drew closer to Washington in this time of his 
troubles and perplexities than General Greene. He had a 
real veneration for his character, and thought himself "happy 
in an opportunity to serve under so good a general." He 
grieved at Washington's annoyances, but attributed them in 
part to his being somewhat of a stranger in New England. 
"He has not had time," writes he, "to make himself ac- 

Cife of \Ifaztyr)$toT) 543 

quainted with the genius of this people ; they are naturally 
as brave and spirited as the peasantry of any other country, 
but you cannot expect veterans of a raw militia from only a 
few months' service. The common people are exceedingly 
avaricious; the genius of the people is commercial, from 
their long intercourse with trade. The sentiment of honor, 
the true characteristic of a soldier, has not yet got the better 
of interest. His Excellency has been taught to believe the 
people here a superior race of mortals; and finding them of 
the same temper and dispositions, passions and prejudices, 
virtues and vices of the common people of other govern- 
ments, they sank in his esteem.* 


Affairs in Canada — Capture of Fort Chamblee — Siege of St. John's — 
Maclean and his Highlanders — Montgomery on the Treatment 
of Ethan Allen — Repulse of Carleton — Capitulation of the Garri- 
son of St. John's — Generous Conduct of Montgomery — Maclean 
re-embarks for Quebec — Weary Struggle of Arnold through the 
Wilderness — Defection of Colonel Enos — Arnold in the Valley 
of the Chaudiere — His Arrival opposite Quebec — Surrender of 
Montreal — Escape of Carleton — Homesickness of the American 

Dispatches from Schuyler, dated October 26th, gave 
Washington another chapter of the Canada expedition. 
Chamblee, an inferior fort within five miles of St. John's, 
had been taken by Majors Brown and Livingston, at the 
head of fifty Americans and three hundred Canadians. A 
large quantity of gunpowder, and other military stores found 

* Greene to Dep. Gov. "Ward. Am. Arch., 4th Series, 
iii. 1145. 

544 U/orl{8 of U/asl?ir)$ton In/ir>$ 

there, was a seasonable supply to the army before St. John's, 
and consoled General Montgomery for his disappointment in 
regard to the aid promised by Colonel Ethan Allen. He 
now pressed the siege of St. John's with vigor. The gar- 
rison, cut off from supplies, were suffering from want of 
provisions; but the brave commander, Major Preston, still 
held out manfully, hoping for speedy relief from General 
Carle ton, who was assembling troops for that purpose in 

Carleton, it is true, had but about one hundred regulars, 
several hundred Canadians, and a number of Indians with 
him ; but he calculated greatly on the co-operation of Colonel 
Maclean, a veteran Scot, brave and bitterly loyal, who had 
enlisted three hundred of his countrymen at Quebec, and 
formed them into a regiment called "The Royal Highland 
Emigrants.' ' This doughty Highlander was to land at the 
mouth of the Sorel, where it empties into the St. Lawrence, 
and proceed along the former river to St. John's, to join 
Carleton, who would repair thither by the way of Longueil. 

In the meantime Montgomery received accounts from 
various quarters that Colonel Ethan Allen and his men, 
captured in the ill-advised attack upon Montreal, were 
treated with cruel and unnecessary severity, being loaded 
with irons; and that even the colonel himself was subjected 
to this "shocking indignity.' ' Montgomery addressed a let- 
ter to Carleton on the subject, strong and decided in its pur- 
port, but written in the spirit of a courteous and high-minded 
gentleman, and ending with an expression of that sad feel- 
ing which gallant officers must often have experienced in 
this revolutionary conflict, on being brought into collision 
with former brothers in arms. 

"Your character, sir," writes he, "induces me to hope I 

Cife of U/asl?ii)<$toi) 545 

am ill informed. Nevertheless, the duty I owe the troops 
committed to my charge lays me under the necessity of ac- 
quainting your Excellency that, if you allow this conduct, 
and persist in it, I shall, though with the most painful re- 
gret, execute with rigor the just and necessary law of retalia- 
tion upon the garrison of Chamblee, now in my possession, 
and upon all others who may hereafter fall into my hands. 
.... I shall expect your Excellency's answer in six days. 
Should the bearer not return in that time, I must interpret 
your silence into a declaration of a barbarous war. I cannot 
pass this opportunity without lamenting the melancholy and 
fatal necessity which obliges the firmest friends of the con- 
stitution to oppose one of the most respectable officers of the 

"While waiting for a reply, Montgomery pressed the siege 
of St. John's, though thwarted continually by the want of 
subordination and discipline among his troops; hasty levies 
from various colonies, who, said he, "carry the spirit of free- 
dom into the field, and think for themselves." Accustomed 
as he had been, in his former military experience, to the im- 
plicit obedience of European troops, the insubordination of 
these yeoman soldiery was intolerable to him. "Were I not 
afraid," writes he, "the example would be too generally fol- 
lowed, and that the public service might suffer, I would not 
stay an hour at the head of troops whose operations I cannot 
direct. I must say I have no hopes of success, unless from 
the garrison's wanting provisions." 

He had advanced his lines and played from his batteries 
on two sides of the fort for some hours, when tidings brought 
by four prisoners caused him to cease his fire. 

General Carleton, on the 31st of September, had embarked 
his motley force at Montreal, in thirty-four boats, to cross 

546 U/or^s of U/asl?iD$toi) Iruip$ 

the St. Lawrence, land at Longueil, and push on for St. 
John's, where, as concerted, he was to be joined by Maclean 
and his Highlanders. As the boats approached the right 
bank of the river at Longueil, a terrible fire of artillery and 
musketry was unexpectedly opened upon them, and threw 
them into confusion. It was from Colonel Seth Warner's 
detachment of Green Mountain Boys and New Yorkers. 
Some of the boats were disabled, some were driven on shore 
on an island ; Carleton retreated with the rest to Montreal, 
with some loss in killed and wounded. The Americans capt- 
ured two Canadians and two Indians ; and it was these pris- 
oners who brought tidings to the camp of Carleton's signal 

Aware that the garrison held out merely in expectation 
of the relief thus intercepted, Montgomery ceased his fire, 
and sent a flag by one of the Canadian prisoners with a letter 
informing Major Preston of the event, and inviting a sur- 
render to spare the effusion of blood. 

Preston in reply expressed a doubt of the truth of the 
report brought by the prisoners, but offered to surrender if 
not relieved in four days. The condition was refused and 
the gallant major was obliged to capitulate. His garrison 
consisted of five hundred regulars and one hundred Ca- 
nadians; among the latter were several of the provincial 

Montgomery treated Preston and his garrison with the 
courtesy inspired by their gallant resistance. He had been 
a British officer himself, and his old associations with the 
service made him sympathize with the brave men whom 
the fortune of war had thrown into his hands. Perhaps their 
high-bred and aristocratic tone contrasted favorably in his 
eyes with the rough demeanor of the crude swordsmen with 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 547 

whom he had recently associated, and brought back the feel- 
ings of early days, when war with him was a gay profession, 
not a melancholy duty. According to capitulation, the bag- 
gage of both officers and men was secured to them, and 
each of the latter received a new suit of clothing from the 
captured stores. This caused a murmur among the Amer- 
ican soldiery, many of whom were nearly naked, and the 
best but scantily provided. Even some of the officers were 
indignant that all the articles of clothing had not been treated 
as lawful spoil. "I would not have sullied my own reputa- 
tion, nor disgraced the Continental arms by such a breach 
of capitulation for the uni verse,' ' said Montgomery. Hav- 
ing sent his prisoners up Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga, 
he prepared to proceed immediately to Montreal ; requesting 
General Schuyler to forward all the men he could possibly 

The Royal Highland Emigrants, who were to have co- 
operated with General Carleton, met with no better fortune 
than that commander. Maclean landed at the mouth of the 
Sorel, and added to his force by recruiting a number of 
Canadians in the neighborhood, at the point of the bayonet. 
He was in full march for St. John's, when he was encoun- 
tered by Majors Brown and Livingston with their party, 
fresh from the capture of Chamblee, and re-enforced by a 
number of Green Mountain Boys. These pressed him back 
to the mouth of the Sorel, where, hearing of the repulse of 
Carleton, and being deserted by his Canadian recruits, he 
embarked the residue of his troops, and set off down the St. 
Lawrence to Quebec. The Americans now took post at the 
mouth of the Sorel, where they erected batteries so as to 
command the St. Lawrence and prevent the descent of any 
armed vessels from Montreal. 

548 U/orl^s of U/asl?ii)$toi) Iruii)©; 

Thus closed another chapter of the invasion of Canada. 
"Not a word of Arnold yet," said Montgomery, in his last 
dispatch. "I have sent two expresses to him lately, one by 
an Indian who promised to return with expedition. The 
instant I have any news of him, I will acquaint you by 

We will anticipate his express, by giving the reader the 
purport of letters received by Washington direct from Arnold 
himself, bringing forward the collateral branch of this event- 
ful enterprise. 

The transportation of troops and effects across the carry- 
ing-place, between the Kennebec and Dead Rivers, had been 
a work of severe toil and difficulty to Arnold and his men, 
but performed with admirable spirit. There were ponds and 
streams full of trout and salmon, which furnished them with 
fresh provisions. Launching their boats on the sluggish 
waters of the Dead River, they navigated it in divisions, as 
before, to the foot of snow-crowned mountains ; a part of the 
great granite chain which extends from southwest to north- 
east throughout our continent. Here, while Arnold and the 
first division were encamped to repose themselves, heavy 
rains set in, and they came near being swept away by sudden 
torrents from the mountains. Several of their boats were 
overturned, much of their provisions was lost, the sick list 
increased, and the good spirits which had hitherto sustained 
them began to give way. They were on scanty allowance, 
with a prospect of harder times, for there were still twelve 
or fifteen days of wilderness before them, where no supplies 
were to be had. A council of war was now held, in which 
it was determined to send back the sick and disabled, who 
were mere encumbrances. Arnold, accordingly, wrote to 
the commanders of the other divisions, to press on with as 

Cife of U/a8l?iT)<$toi} 549 

many of their men as they could furnish with provisions 
for fifteen days, and to send the rest back to a place on the 
route called Norridgewock. This order was misunderstood 
or misinterpreted by Colonel Enos, who commanded the rear 
division ; he gave all the provisions he could spare to Colonel 
Greene of the third division, retaining merely enough to 
supply his own corps of three hundred men on their way 
back to Norridgewock, whither he immediately returned. 

Letters from Arnold and Enos apprised Washington of 
this grievous flaw in the enterprise. He regarded it, how- 
ever, as usual, with a hopeful eye. "Notwithstanding this 
great defection," said he, "I do not despair of Colonel 
Arnold's success. He will have, in all probability, many 
more difficulties to encounter than if he had been a fortnight 
sooner; as it is likely that Governor Carle ton will, with what 
forces he can collect after the surrender of the rest of Canada, 
throw himself into Quebec, and there make his last effort." * 

Washington was not mistaken in the confidence he had 
placed in the energy of Arnold. Though the latter found 
his petty force greatly reduced by the retrograde move of 
Enos and his party, and although snow and ice rendered his 
march still more bleak among the mountains, he kept on 
with unflinching spirit until he arrived at the ridge which 
divides the streams of New England and Canada. Here, 
at Lake Megantic, the source of the Chaudiere, he met an 
emissary whom he had sent in advance to ascertain the feel- 
ings of the habitans, or French yeomanry, in the fertile 
valley on that stream. His report being favorable, Arnold 
shared out among the different companies the scanty pro- 
visions which remained, directing them to make the best of 

* Washington to the President of Congress, Nov. 19th. 

550 U/orks of U/as^ir>^top Iruio$ 

their way for the Chaudiere settlements; while he, with a 
light foraging party, would push rapidly ahead, to procure 
and send back supplies. 

He accordingly embarked with his little party in five 
bateaux and a birch canoe, and launched forth without a 
guide on the swift current of the Chaudiere. It was little 
better than a mountain torrent, full of rocks and rapids. 
Three of their boats were dashed to pieces, the cargoes lost, 
and the crews saved with difficulty. At one time, the whole 
party came near being precipitated over a cataract, where 
all might have perished; at length they reached Sertigan, 
the first French settlement, where they were cordially re- 
ceived. Here Arnold bought provisions, which he sent back 
by the Canadians and Indians to his troops. The latter were 
in a state of starvation. Some had not tasted food for eight 
and forty hours; others had cooked two dogs, followers of 
the camp; and others had boiled their moccasins, cartouch 
boxes, and other articles of leather in the hope of rendering 
them eatable. 

Arnold halted for a short time in the hospitable valley 
of the Chaudiere, to give his troops repose, and distributed 
among the inhabitants the printed manifesto with which he 
had been furnished by "Washington. Here he was joined by 
about forty Norridgewock Indians. On the 9th of Novem- 
ber, the little army emerged from the woods at Point Levi, 
on the St. Lawrence, opposite to Quebec. A letter written 
by an inhabitant of that place speaks of their sudden 

"There are about five hundred provincials arrived at Point 
Levi, opposite to the town, by the way of Chaudiere across 
the woods. Surely a miracle must have been wrought in 
their favor. It is an undertaking above the common race 

Cife of U/a8l?ii)<$toi) 551 

of men in this debauched age. They have traveled through 
woods and bogs, and over precipices, for the space of one 
hundred and twenty miles, attended with every inconvenience 
and difficulty, to be surmounted only by men of indefatigable 
zeal and industry." 

Leaving Arnold in full sight of Quebec, which, after his 
long struggle through the wilderness, must have appeared 
like a land of promise, we turn to narrate the events of the 
upper expedition into Canada of which the letters of Schuy- 
ler kept Washington faithfully informed. 

Montgomery appeared before Montreal on the 12th of 
November. General Carleton had embarked with his little 
garrison, and several of the civil officers of the place, on 
board of a flotilla of ten or eleven small vessels, and made 
sail in the night, with a favorable breeze, carrying away with 
him the powder and other important stores. The town 
capitulated, of course; and Montgomery took quiet posses- 
sion. His urbanity and kindness soon won the good will of 
the inhabitants, both English and French, and made the 
Canadians sensible that he really came to secure their rights, 
not to molest them. Intercepted letters acquainted him with 
Arnold's arrival in the neighborhood of Quebec, and the 
great alarm of "the king's friends," who expected to be 
besieged: "which, with the blessing of God, they shall be," 
said Montgomery, "if the severe season holds off, and I can 
prevail on the troops to accompany me." 

His great immediate object was the capture of Carleton ; 
which would form a triumphal close to the enterprise, and 
might decide the fate of Canada. The flotilla in which the 
general was embarked had made repeated attempts to escape 
down the St. Lawrence; but had as often been driven back 
by the batteries thrown up by the Americans at the mouth 

552 U/or^s of U/asl?ip^toi) Irvii)$ 

of the Sorel. It now lay anchored about fifteen miles above 
the river; and Montgomery prepared to attack it with 
bateaux and light artillery, so as to force it down upon 
the batteries. 

Carleton saw his imminent peril. Disguising himself as 
a Canadian voyager, he set off on a dark night accompanied 
by six peasants, in a boat with muffled oars, which he as- 
sisted to pull ; slipped quietly and silently past all the bat- 
teries and guard-boats, and effected his escape to Three 
Rivers, where he embarked in a vessel for Quebec. After 
his departure the flotilla surrendered, and all those who had 
taken refuge on board were made prisoners of war. Among 
them was General Prescott, late commander of Montreal. 

Montgomery now placed garrisons in Montreal, St. 
John's, and Chamblee, and made final preparations for 
descending the Sfc. Lawrence, and co-operating with Arnold 
against Quebec. To his disappointment and deep chagrin, he 
found but a handful of his troops disposed to accompany him. 
Some pleaded ill health ; the term of enlistment of many had 
expired, and they were bent on returning home; and others, 
who had no such excuses to make, became exceedingly tur- 
bulent, and indeed mutinous. Nothing but a sense of public 
duty, and gratitude to Congress for an unsought commission, 
had induced Montgomery to engage in the service ; wearied 
by the continual vexations which beset it, he avowed, in a 
letter to Schuyler, his determination to retire as soon as the 
intended expedition against Quebec was finished. "Will not 
your health permit you to reside at Montreal this winter?" 
writes he to Schuyler; "I must go home, if I walk by the 
side of the lake. I am weary of power, and totally want 
that patience and temper so requisite for such a command." 
Much of the insubordination of the troops he attributed to 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tO!) 553 

the want of tact and cultivation in their officers; who had 
been suddenly advanced from inferior stations and coarse 
employments. "An affair happened yesterday," writes he 
to Schuyler on the 24th of November, "which had very near 
sent me home. A number of officers presumed to remon- 
strate against the indulgence I had given some of the king's 
troops. Such an insult 1 could not bear, and immediately 
resigned. To-day they qualified it by such an apology as 
put it in my power to resume the command." In the same 
spirit he writes: "I wish some method could be fallen upon 
for engaging gentlemen to serve. A point of honor and 
more knowledge of the world, to be found in that class of 
men, would greatly reform discipline and render the troops 
much more tractable." 

The troops which had given Montgomery so much annoy- 
ance, and refused to continue with him in Canada, soon 
began to arrive at Ticonderoga. Schuyler, in a letter to 
Congress, gives a half querulous, half humorous account 
of their conduct. "About three hundred of the troops raised 
in Connecticut passed here within a few days. An unhappy 
homesickness prevails. These all came down as invalids, 
not one willing to re-engage for the winter's service; and, 
unable to get any work done by them, I discharge them en 
groupe. Of all the specifics ever invented for any, there is 
none so efficacious as a discharge for this prevailing disorder. 
No sooner was it administered, but it perfected the cure of 
nine out of ten ; who, refusing to wait for boats to go by the 
way of Lake George, slung their heavy packs, crossed the 
lake at this place, and undertook a march of two hundred 
miles with the greatest good- will and alacrity." 

This homesickness in rustic soldiers after a rough cam- 
paign was natural enough, and seems only to have provoked 

* * *X— Vol. XII. 

554 U/orl^s of U/a8f?ir>$tor> Irufi)$ 

the testy and subacid humor of Schuyler ; but other instances 
of conduct roused his indignation. 

A. schooner and tow galley arrived at Crown Point, with 
upward of a hundred persons. They were destitute of pro- 
visions; none were to be had at the Point, and the ice pre- 
vented them from penetrating to Ticonderoga. In starving 
condition they sent an express to General Schuyler, implor- 
ing relief. He immediately ordered three captains of Gen- 
eral Wooster's regiment, with a considerable body of men 
in bateaux, to "attempt a relief for the unhappy sufferers.' ' 
To his surprise and disgust, they manifested the utmost un- 
willingness to comply, and made a variety of excuses, which 
he spurned at as frivolous, and as evincing the greatest want 
of humanity. He expressed himself to that effect the next 
day, in a general order, adding the following stinging words : 
"The general, therefore, not daring to trust a matter of so 
much importance to men of so little feeling, has ordered 
Lieutenant Riker, of Colonel Holmes's regiment, to make 
the attempt. He received the order with the alacrity be- 
coming a gentleman, an officer, and a Christian." 

This high-minded rebuke, given in so public a manner, 
rankled in the breasts of those whose conduct had merited 
it, and insured to Schuyler that persevering hostility with 
which mean minds revenge the exposure of their meanness. 


Washington's Anticipations of Success at Quebec — His Eulogium 
of Arnold — Schuyler and Montgomery talk of resigning — Ex- 
postulations of Washington — Their Effect — Schuyler's Conduct 
to a Captive Foe 

We have endeavored to compress into a succinct account 
various events of the invasion of Canada, furnished to Wash- 

Cife of U/asbin^ton 555 

ington by letters from Schuyler and Arnold. The tidings 
of the capture of Montreal had given him the liveliest satis- 
faction. He now looked forward to equal success in the 
expedition against Quebec. In a letter to Schuyler he passed 
a high eulogium on Arnold. "The merit of this gentleman 
is certainly great," writes he, "and I heartily wish that fort- 
une may distinguish him as one of her favorites. I am con- 
vinced that he will do everything that prudence and valor 
shall suggest to add to the success of our arms, and for 
reducing Quebec to our possession. Should he not be able 
to accomplish so desirable a work with the forces he has, I 
flatter myself that it will be effected when General Mont- 
gomery joins him, and our conquest of Canada will be com- 

Certain passages of Schuyler's letters, however, gave him 
deep concern, wherein that general complained of the em- 
barrassments and annoyances he had experienced from the 
insubordination of the army. "Habituated to order," said 
he, "I cannot without pain see that disregard of discipline, 
confusion, and inattention, which reign so generally in this 
quarter, and I am determined to retire. Of this resolution 
1 have advised Congress." 

He had indeed done so. In communicating to the Presi- 
dent of Congress the complaints of General Montgomery, 
and his intention to retire, "my sentiments," said he, "ex- 
actly coincide with his. I shall, with him, do everything 
in my power to put a finishing stroke to the campaign, and 
make the best arrangement in my power, in order to insure 
success to the next. This done, I must beg leave to retire." 

Congress, however, was too well aware of his value 
readily to dispense with his services. His letter produced 
a prompt resolution expressive of their high sense of his 

556 U/orl^s of Wasl^ip^top Iruipo; 

attention and perseverance, " which merited the thanks of 
the United Colonies." He had alleged his impaired health 
— they regretted the injuries it had sustained in the service, 
but begged he would not insist on a measure " which would 
deprive America of the benefits of his zeal and abilities, and 
rob him of the honor of completing the work he had so 
happily begun." 

What, however, produced a greater effect upon Schuyler 
than any encomium or entreaty on the part of Congress, 
were the expostulations of Washington, inspired by strong 
friendship and kindred sympathies. "I am exceedingly 
sorry," writes the latter, "to find you so much embarrassed 
by the disregard of discipline, confusion, and want of order 
among the troops, as to have occasioned you to mention to 
Congress an inclination to retire. I know that your com- 
plaints are too well founded, but would willingly hope that 
nothing will induce you to quit the service. ... I have 
met with difficulties of the same sort, and such as I never 
expected; but they must be borne with. The cause we are 
engaged in is so just and righteous that we must try to rise 
superior to every obstacle in its support; and, therefore, I 
beg that you will not think of resigning, unless you have 
carried your application to Congress too far to recede." 

And in another letter he makes a still stronger appeal to 
his patriotism. "I am sorry that you, and General Mont- 
gomery, incline to quit the service. Let me ask you, sir, 
when is the time for brave men to exert themselves in the 
cause of liberty and their country, if this is not? Should 
any difficulties that they may have to encounter at this im- 
portant crisis deter them? God knows there is not a diffi- 
culty that you both very justly complain of that I have not 
in an eminent degree experienced, that I am not every day 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$tor) 557 

experiencing; but we must bear up against them, and make 
the best of mankind, as they are, since we cannot have them 
as we wish. Let me, therefore, conjure you, and Mr. Mont- 
gomery, to lay aside such thoughts — as thoughts injurious 
to yourselves, and extremely so to your country, which calls 
aloud for gentlemen of your ability." 

This noble appeal went straight to the heart of Schuyler, 
and brought out a magnanimous reply. "I do not hesitate," 
writes he, -'to answer my dear general's question in the 
affirmative, by declaring that now or never is the time for 
every virtuous American to exert himself in the cause of 
liberty and his country ; and that it is become a duty cheer- 
fully to sacrifice the sweets of domestic felicity to attain the 
honest and glorious end America has in view." 

In the same letter he reveals in confidence the true cause 
of his wish to retire from an official station ; it was the annoy- 
ance he had suffered throughout the campaign from sectional 
prejudice and jealousy. "I could point out particular persons 
of rank in the army," writes he, "who have frequently 
declared that the general commanding in this quarter ought 
to be of the colony whence the majority of the troops came. 
But it is not from opinions or principles of individuals that I 
have drawn the following conclusion : that troops from the 
colony of Connecticut will not bear with a general from 
another colony ; it is from the daily and common conversa- 
tion of all ranks of people from that colony, both in and out 
of the army ; and I assure you that I sincerely lament that 
people of so much public virtue should be actuated by such 
an unbecoming jealousy, founded on such a narrow prin^ 
ciple." Having made this declaration, he adds, "although 
I frankly own that I feel a resentment, yet I shall continue 
to sacrifice it to a nobler object, the weal of that country in 

558 • U/orJ^s of U/asl?ir?^toi> Irvipo; 

which I have drawn the breath of life, resolved ever to seek, 
with unwearied assiduity, for opportunities to fulfill my duty 
in it." 

It is with pride we have quoted so frequently the corre- 
spondence of these two champions of our Revolution, as it 
lays open their hearts, and shows the lofty patriotism by 
which they were animated. 

A letter from John Adams to General Thomas alleges 
as one cause of Schuyler's unpopularity with the Eastern 
troops, the ' 'politeness" shown by him to Canadian and 
British prisoners; which "enable them and their ministerial 
friends to impose upon him." * 

The "politeness," in fact, was that noble courtesy which 
a high minded soldier extends toward a captive foe. If his 
courtesy was imposed upon, it only proved that, incapable 
of double-dealing himself, he suspected it not in others. All 
generous natures are liable to imposition ; their warm impulses 
being too quick for selfish caution. It is the cold, the calcu- 
lating, and the mean, whose distrustful wariness is never 
taken in. 


Difficulties in filling up the Army — The Connecticut Troops persist 
in going Home — Their reception there — Timely Arrival of Spoils 
in the Camp — Putnam and the Prize Mortar — A Maraud by 
Americans — Rebuked by Washington — Correspondence of 
Washington with General Howe about the treatment of 
Ethan Allen — Fraternal Zeal of Levi Allen — Treatment of Gen- 
eral Prescott — Preparations to bombard Boston — Battery at 
Lechmere's Point — Prayer of Putnam for Powder 

The forming even of the skeleton of an army under the 
new regulations had been a work of infinite difficulty; to 

* Letter-Book of Gen. Thomas. MS. 

Cife of U/a8t?iQ<$cor? 559 

fill it up was still more difficult. The first burst of revolu- 
tionary zeal had passed away ; enthusiasm had been chilled 
by the inaction and monotony of a long encampment; an 
encampment, moreover, destitute of those comforts which, 
in experienced warfare, are provided by a well-regulated 
commissariat. The troops had suffered privations of every 
kind, want of fuel, clothing, provisions. They looked for- 
ward with dismay to the rigors of winter, and longed for 
their rustic homes and their family firesides. 

Apprehending that some of them would incline to go 
home when the time of their enlistment expired, Washington 
summoned the general officers at headquarters, and invited 
a delegation of the General Court to be present, to adopt 
measures for the defense and support of the lines. The 
result of their deliberations was an order that three thousand 
of the minute men and militia of Massachusetts, and two 
thousand from New Hampshire, should be at Cambridge by 
the 10th of December, to relieve the Connecticut regiments, 
and supply the deficiency that would be caused by their de- 
parture, and by the absence of others on furlough. With 
this arrangement the Connecticut troops were made ac- 
quainted, and as the time of most of them would not be out 
before the 10th, they were ordered to remain in camp until 
relieved. Their officers assured Washington that he need 
apprehend no defection on the part of their men; they would 
not leave the lines. The officers themselves were probably 
mistaken in their opinion of their men, for on the 1st of 
December many of the latter, some of whom belonged to 
Putnam's regiment, resolved to go home immediately. 
Efforts were made to prevent them, but in vain; several 
carried off with them their arms and ammunition. Wash- 
ington sent a list of their names to Governor Trumbull. "I 

560 U/or^s of U/as^ir>^toi> Injfo$ 

submit it to your judgment," writes he, "whether an ex- 
ample should not be made of these men who have deserted 
the cause of their country at this critical juncture, when the 
enemy are receiving re-enforcements?" 

We anticipate the reply of Governor Trumbull, received 
several days subsequently. "The late extraordinary and 
reprehensible conduct of some of the troops of this colony, ' ' 
writes he, "impresses me, and the minds of many of our 
people, with great surprise and indignation, since the treat- 
ment they met with, and the order and request made to them, 
were so reasonable, and apparently necessary for the defense 
of our common cause, and safety of our rights and privileges, 
for which they freely engaged." 

"We will here add that the homeward-bound warriors seem 
to have run the gantlet along the road; for their conduct 
on quitting the army drew upon them such indignation that 
they could hardly get anything to eat on their journey, and, 
when they arrived at home, they met with such a reception 
(to the credit of the Connecticut women be it recorded) that 
many were soon disposed to return again to camp.* 

On the very day after the departure homeward of these 
troops, and while it was feared their example would be con- 
tagious, a long, lumbering train of wagons, laden with ord- 
nance and military stores, and decorated with flags, came 
wheeling into the camp, escorted by Continental troops and 
country militia. They were part of the cargo of a large 
brigantine laden with munitions of war, captured and sent 
in to Cape Ann by the schooner "Lee," Captain Manly, one 
of the cruisers sent out by Washington. "Such universal 

* See letter of Gen. Greene to Samuel Ward. Am. Arch., 
4th Series, vol. iv. 

Cife of U/asf?ir}<$tor> 561 

joy ran through the whole camp," writes an officer, "as if 
each one grasped a victory in his own hands." 

Besides the ordnance captured, there were two thousand 
stand of arms, one hundred thousand flints, thirty thou- 
sand round shot, and thirty-two tons of musket-balls. 

4 * Surely nothing," writes Washington, "ever came more 

It was indeed a cheering incident, and was eagerly turned 
to account. Among the ordnance was a large brass mor- 
tar of a new construction, weighing near three thousand 
pounds. It was considered a glorious trophy, and there was 
a resolve to christen it. Mifflin, Washington's secretary, 
suggested the name. The mortar was fixed in a bed ; old 
Putnam mounted it, dashed on it a bottle of rum, and gave 
it the name of Congress. The shouts which rent the air 
were heard in Boston. When the meaning of them was 
explained to the British, they observed, that "should their 
expected re-enforcements arrive in time, the rebels would 
pay dear in the spring for all their petty triumphs." 

With Washington, this transient gleam of nautical suc- 
cess was soon overshadowed by the conduct of the cruisers 
he had sent to the St. Lawrence. Failing to intercept the 
brigantines, the objects of their cruise, they landed on the 
island of St. John's, plundered the house of the governor 
and several private dwellings, and brought off three of the 
principal inhabitants prisoners ; one of whom, Mr. Callbeck, 
was president of the council, and acted as governor. 

These gentlemen made a memorial to Washington of this 
scandalous maraud. He instantly ordered the restoration 
of the effects which had been pillaged — of his conduct toward 
the gentlemen personally we may judge by the following 
note addressed to him by Mr. Callbeck : 

562 U/orKs of UVasl?ir><$toi) Iruii)<$ 

"I should ill deserve the generous treatment which your 
Excellency has been pleased to show me had I not the 
gratitude to acknowledge so great a favor. I cannot ascribe 
any part of it to my own merit, but must impute the whole 
to the philanthropy and humane disposition that so truly 
characterize General Washington. Be so obliging, there- 
fore, as to accept the only return in my power, that of my 
most grateful thanks." * 

Shortly after the foregoing occurrence, information was 
received of the indignities which had been heaped upon 
Colonel Ethan Allen, when captured at Montreal by General 
Prescott, who, himself, was now a prisoner in the hands of 
the Americans. It touched Washington on a point on which 
he was most sensitive and tenacious, the treatment of Amer- 
ican officers when captured; and produced the following 
letter from him to General Howe : 

"Sir — We have just been informed of a circumstance 
which, were it not so well authenticated, I should scarcely 
think credible. It is that Colonel Allen, who, with his small 
party, was defeated and made prisoner near Montreal, has 
been treated without regard to decency, humanity, or the 
rules of war ; that he has been thrown into irons, and suffers 
all the hardships inflicted upon common felons. 

"I think it my duty, sir, to demand, and do expect from 
you, an eclaircissement on this subject. At the same time, 
I flatter myself, from the character which Mr. Howe bears 
as a man of honor, gentleman, and soldier, that my demand 
will meet with his approbation. I must take the liberty, 
also, of informing you that I shall consider your silence as 
a confirmation of the report, and further assuring you that 

* Sparks. Washington's Writings, vol. iii., p. 194. 

Cife of U/ast>ii)<$toi) 563 

whatever treatment Colonel Allen receives, whatever fate 
he undergoes, such exactly shall be the treatment and fate 
of Brigadier Prescott, now in our hands. The law of retalia- 
tion is not only justifiable in the eyes of God and man, but 
absolutely a duty, which, in our present circumstances, we 
owe to our relations, friends, and fellow citizens. 

"Permit me to add, sir, that we have all here the highest 
regard and reverence for your great personal qualities and 
attainments, and the Americans in general esteem it as not 
the least of their misfortunes that the name of Howe, a 
name so dear to them, should appear at the head of the 
catalogue of the instruments employed by a wicked ministry 
for their destruction. ,, 

General Howe felt acutely the sorrowful reproach in the 
latter part of the letter. It was a reiteration of what had 
already been expressed by Congress; in the present instance 
it produced irritation, if we may judge from the reply : 

"Sir — In answer to your letter, I am to acquaint you 
that my command does not extend to Canada. Not having 
any accounts wherein the name of Allen is mentioned, I 
cannot give you the smallest satisfaction upon the subject 
of your letter. But trusting Major-general Carleton's con- 
duct will never incur censure upon any occasion, I ana to 
conclude, in the instance of your inquiry, that he has not 
forfeited his past pretensions to decency and humanity. 

"It is with regret, considering the character you have 
always maintained among your friends as a gentleman of 
the strictest honor and delicacy, that I find cause to resent 
a sentence in the conclusion of your letter, big with invective 
against my superiors, and insulting to myself, which should 
obstruct any further intercourse between us. I am, sir, etc." 

564 U/orl^s of UVasr;iD$tor; Iruip^ 

In transmitting a copy of his letter to the President of 
Congress, Washington observed: "My reason for pointing 
out Brigadier-general Prescott as the object who is to suffer 
for Mr. Allen's fate, is, that by letters from General Schuy- 
ler, and copies of letters from General Montgomery to Schuy- 
ler, I am given to understand that Prescott is the cause of 
Allen's sufferings. I thought it best to be decisive on the 
occasion, as did the generals whom I consulted thereon." 

For the sake of continuity we will anticipate a few facts 
connected with the story of Ethan Allen. Within a few 
weeks after the preceding correspondence, Washington re- 
ceived a letter from Levi Allen, a brother to the colonel, 
and of like enterprising and enthusiastic character. It was 
dated from Salisbury in Connecticut ; and inclosed affidavits 
of the harsh treatment his brother had experienced, and of 
his being confined on board of the "Gaspee," "with a bar 
of iron fixed to one of his legs, and iron to his hands." Levi 
was bent upon affecting his deliverance, and the mode pro- 
posed was in unison with the bold but wild schemes of the 
colonel. We quote his crude, but characteristic letter. 

"Have some thoughts of going to England incognito 
after my brother; but am not positively certain he is sent 
there, though believe he is. Beg your Excellency will favor 
me with a line, and acquaint me of any intelligence concern- 
ing him, and if your Excellency please, your opinion of the 
expediency of going after him, and whether your Excellency 
would think proper to advance any money for that purpose, 
as my brother was a man blessed with more fortitude than 
fortune. Your Excellency may think, at first thought, I 
can do nothing by going to England ; I feel as if I could 
do a great deal, by raising a mob in London, bribing the 
jailer, or by getting into some servile employment with the 

Cife of U/asl?ir)<$toi} 565 

jailer, and over-faithfulness make myself master of the key, 
or at least be able to lay my hand on it some night. I beg 
your Excellency will countenance my going; can muster 
more than one hundred pounds, my own property; shall 
regard spending that no more than one copper. Your Excel- 
lency must know Allen was not only a brother, but a real 
friend that sticketh closer than a brother." 

In a postscript he adds, "cannot live without going to 
England, if my brother is sent there." 

In reply, Washington intimated a belief that the colonel 
had been sent to England, but discountenanced Levi's wild 
project of following him thither; as there was no probability 
of its success, and he would be running himself into danger 
without a prospect of rendering service to his brother. 

The measure of retaliation mentioned in Washington's 
letter to Howe was actually meted out by Congress on the 
arrival of General Prescott in Philadelphia. He was or- 
dered into close confinement in the jail ; though not put in 
irons. He was subsequently released from confinement, on 
account of ill health, and was treated by some Philadelphia 
families with unmerited hospitality.* 

* Thomas Walker, a merchant of Montreal, who, accused 
of traitorous dealings with the Americans, had been thrown 
into prison during Prescott's sway, and his country-house 
burned down, undertook a journey to Philadelphia in the 
depth of winter, when he understood the general was a cap- 
tive there, trusting to obtain satisfaction for his ill treat- 
ment. To his great surprise, he found Mr. Prescott lodged 
in the best tavern of the place, walking or riding at large 
through Philadelphia and Bucks counties, feasting with 
gentlemen of the first rank in the province, and keepiug a 
levee for the reception of the grandees. In consequence of 
which unaccountable phenomena, and the little prospect of 
his obtaining any adequate redress in the present unsettled 
state of public affairs, Mr. Walker has returned to Montreal. 
— Am. Archives, 4th Series, iv., 1178. 

566 U/orl^8 of U/a«^ir>^tor> Iruir?$ 

At the time of the foregoing correspondence with Howe, 
"Washington was earnestly occupied preparing works for the 
bombardment of Boston, should that measure be resolved 
upon by Congress. General Putnam, in the preceding 
month, had taken possession in the night of Cobble Hill 
without molestation from the enemy, though a commanding 
eminence; and in two days had constructed a work, which, 
from its strength, was named Putnam's impregnable fortress. 

He was now engaged on another work on Lechmere 
Point, to be connected with the works at Cobble Hill, by 
a bridge thrown across Willis's Creek and a covered way. 
Lechmere Point is immediately opposite the north part of 
Boston; and the "Scarborough" ship of war was anchored 
near it. Putnam availed himself of a dark and foggy day 
(Dec. 17th), to commence operations, and broke ground with 
four hundred men, at ten o'clock in the morning, on a hill 
at the Point. "The mist," says a contemporary account, 
"was so great as to prevent the enemy from discovering 
what he was about until near twelve o'clock, when it cleared 
up, and opened to their view our whole party at the Point, 
and an